October 22, 2020 by Hilary Jenison and Joshua Ross (photo by Joshua Ross Photography)
Updated October 22, 2020 at 10:30pm
Today, Governor Baker and the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) issued an order to suspend the operation of hockey and skating facilities for two weeks, following related outbreaks of Covid-19. According to the MDPH, there have been at least 30 clusters of COVID-19 associated with organized ice hockey activities in Massachusetts. Each of these clusters has two or more confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases, totaling 108 confirmed cases and more than 225 exposed contacts.
Hingham’s Executive Health Officer Susan Sarni confirmed for the Anchor that she has quarantined more than eight hockey teams over the last several weeks with collaboration from the MDPH. Sarni added this evening, “I have also been working with the Massachusetts Epidemiologic Surveillance Unit for the last several weeks on hockey clusters.”
In a statement to the Hingham Anchor, Mike Richardson, president of Hingham Youth Hockey, says, "The health and safety of the players and families in our program is our primary concern. Our concern extends to the broader hockey community as well, and we send our best wishes to all who have been impacted." He goes on to say, "We’re confident that the safety protocols that we have implemented and our close communication with the Hingham Board of Health have helped mitigate the spread within our program and our community. While disappointed to hear this news, we will do everything we can to help make sure the kids can return to the rink as quickly as possible in as safe of an environment as possible."
Tony Messina, Hingham High School Boys Hockey Head Coach, added "I had a strong feeling we were headed to this point after seeing NH close their rinks a week ago. While it's disappointing in many ways, I hope this two-week hiatus drives home the message to everyone that we need to follow the guidelines if we want to have a high school hockey season."
The acting Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in accordance with Governor Baker, issued the following order this evening:
“Indoor ice rinks, and indoor ice skating and hockey facilities may not host games, practices, or any other on-ice hockey or skating activities for the period beginning 5:00 p.m. on October 23, 2020 and ending at 12:01 am. on November 7, 2020. To the extent that such facilities are used for purposes other than hockey and skating activities, they may continue to be open to the public for those permitted, off-ice activities. This Order does not apply to activities of professional or collegiate interscholastic hockey and skating programs. Only professional and collegiate interscholastic hockey and skating programs may conduct on-ice activities during this time. This Order shall remain in effect until 12:01 a.m. on November 7, 2020, unless duly extended or rescinded by me, or the State of Emergency is terminated by the Governor, whichever shall happen first.”