New ice hockey guidance: COVID-19 test before playing, rinks reopen Oct. 30

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Manchester Monarchs Youth Hockey/File Photo.

CONCORD, NH – Those who want to play hockey or go back to free skate in indoor rinks across the state will be able to return Oct. 30 provided they take a COVID-19 test.

Either a PCR or non-invasive antigen test will be required.

After a task force heard from parents, coaches, and staff that such massive testing efforts would be problematic for children, some as young as six, the state released new Hockey & Indoor Ice Arena Guidance on Friday.

A copy of the new guidance is here.

“This new guidance will safely get folks back on the ice utilizing flexible testing protocols like non-invasive antigen options with the goal of continuing a safe, fun and healthy season,” said Gov. Chris Sununu.

Massachusetts announced a two-week cessation of all youth and recreational hockey beginning Friday and ending Nov. 7.

It came a week after the Granite State made the first time-out, citing concerns that COVID-19 was spreading into schools and nursing homes as a result of actions on and off the ice but all related to ice arenas, with 167 confirmed cases as of Thursday.

Sununu said he could not control teams that went to play out of state.

On Friday, Sununu and Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist, went over a revised set of guidelines for opening the rinks.
A task force for New Hampshire heard pushback from parents and the task force altered their requirements to a “recommendation.” But the governor did not bite.

Sununu said he thought it was time for a reset and having all tested before returning to play was a good idea.

Many coaches expressed concern that they could not host events for out-of-state athletes who would not comply.

Massachusetts won’t be hosting any youth hockey games for them to join there, at least for a few weeks.