NY State Finally Allows Hockey Games 

Northwood hockey players received good news on January 31st: Essex County will allow high-risk sports, including ice hockey, to play. Mr. Gino Riffle, Athletic Director and Junior Team assistant coach, sent a mass email with the confirmation stating, “The county we are in, Essex County, released information Friday that they will allow high-risk sports to begin at the youth level on February 1st.”  

Members of the 2019-20 Northwood Girls’ Hockey team celebrate at the 2020 New York State Championships (Photo: Kara Wentzel ’22)

The news has Northwood hockey players ecstaticBeneath all the excitement many of us had questions about the fine print. Governor Cuomo stated that in order to be able to train and play games, county health departments must first approve it and provide guidelines, which came from Essex County late last weekMr. Riffle’s message indicated that the school has more work to do before games could be scheduled. “The countyhas included procedures, protocols and stipulations about playing these high-risk sports. We are working through the document and with Essex County officials to figure out what we can and cannot do based upon the guidance. We will have another update this week as we gain more clarity. 

Hockey players are left wondering what the protocols will be. We do not yet know, but we assume they pertain to spectators coming to watch and whether masks will have to be worn while playing or not. Questions remain about how it will work if Northwood wants to play teams in other counties, considering there are no teams to play in Essex County. On top of that, Husky hockey players are curious to see how thnew UK strand of COVID-19 will affect us, since it has made its way into the area.  

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