Framework Approval for the ‘First Stage’ Return to Responsible Play – Communique #4

You can access the PDF version of this document here.


Dear Field Hockey BC Members

On behalf of the Field Hockey BC (FHBC) Board of Directors, I am delighted to announce that the First Stage Responsible Return to Play Framework (for field hockey in BC) has now been officially approved. The FHBC Board of Directors met on the evening of June 11, 2020 to further consider the framework following the recent creation by the BC Provincial Government of a ministerial order protecting amateur sports organizations, their employees and volunteers from COVID -19 liability. Whilst the ministerial order provides for a welcome boost in confidence, it remains essential that sports organizations comply with public health orders and provincial sport guidelines, as well as, the now approved first stage responsible return to play framework for field hockey in BC. To read more on this proactive move by the BC Provincial Government, please refer to the following link:

https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020TAC0026-001038?utm_source=PSO+Connector&utm_campaign=7cb0c71525-Sportscape_2019_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9305c55a53-7cb0c71525-384328077

With the first stage framework now approved, what does this mean for the Local Sport Organization (LSO)? Well, earlier this week a DRAFT copy of the framework (date stamped June 5, 2020) was sent to LSO’s with the intent to aid preparation and planning. The now approved first stage responsible return to play framework (date stamped June 11, 2020) will be disseminated to LSO senior contacts in the same way later today. A copy of the approved framework will also be posted on the home page of the FHBC website (www.fieldhockeybc.com), referenced through Society social media channels and sent to viaSport for public posting on the viaSport website (www.viasport.ca).

As LSO’s assess the feasibility to return to play in this first stage, it is likely that some LSO’s will choose not to return at this stage. As the Organized Sport Sector across BC cautiously returns, many LSO’s will choose not to return for a number of varying and valid reasons and this is both understandable and anticipated. The approved framework provides guidance as to the minimum standard expected for active implementation in this first stage and we draw your particular attention to the participant ratios, the requirement for attestation form compliance ahead of every activity session, and the need to maintain safety standards ahead of all else.

The advice provided by the Public Health Office, viaSport, and now the approved PSO framework is intended to allow for LSO’s to develop activity plans and look to the necessary steps to secure appropriate facility permits. Where membership participation is concerned, it may be that many members have already requested membership fee refunds or deferrals to the following year, and for those members who may now wish to return we encourage you to re-register your membership prior to active participation. All members participating in LSO, PSO (FHBC), and NSO (FHC) programming must be a registered member in good standing.

As we take the necessary steps towards a return to organized field hockey activity, I encourage all members to take the necessary time to consider returning in what must be a responsible, consistent, and confident manner.

Yours in sport,

Mark Saunders
Executive Director
Field Hockey BC
June 12, 2020

Provincial Athlete Pathway Review Project – Status Update Webinar

The Field Hockey BC Provincial Pathway Review Project was officially launched on April 14th, 2020. The main purpose of the project is to review and evaluate the current FHBC Athlete Pathway and FHBC Athlete Program Model to ensure the Society is meeting the needs of the field hockey community and providing BC athletes with the best available high performance training environment, competitions and opportunities.

The project has completed its first phase and Field Hockey BC is hosting a webinar to provide FHBC members and affiliated Clubs with an update on the status of the project.

The session will provide information on the following:

  • Provincial Pathway Working Group
  • Project Scope
  • Phase One Activities Completed To-Date
  • Club Feedback Questionnaire Summary Response
  • Phase 2 Activities Planned
  • Next Steps

This webinar will be the first of two planned sessions that the Provincial Athlete Pathway Review Project will provide to the field hockey community. A second webinar will be held in approximately 6-8 weeks and will include a presentation on the project’s draft recommendations to the Field Hockey BC Board of Directors.

Further engagement between the Field Hockey BC Board and the Society’s membership will occur once the FHBC Board completes a risk assessment of the project’s recommendations and the operational considerations of the organization have been reviewed.

Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2020, 6:30 pm – 8 pm PST

Zoom Webinar Meeting Information:

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84424517187?pwd=ZFpTQVVYUVdtaHQrZzI5dzQveE03QT09

Webinar ID: 844 2451 7187
Password: 508144

Preparation for a Potential ‘Stage One’ Return to Responsible Play – Communique #3

You can access the PDF version of this document here.


Dear Field Hockey BC Members

On behalf of all involved with Field Hockey BC (FHBC), I would like to again thank the membership for its continued patience as we all navigate the complexities of the COVID-19 response. This is especially relevant to the ongoing effort being made to allow for the BC Organized Sport Sector to responsibly return to play.

Further to Communique #1 and #2 circulated on May 1st, 2020 and May 15th, 2020 respectively and in light of the recent release of the BC Return to Sport Guidelines by viaSport (link below) , I wanted to provide an update on behalf of the FHBC Board of Directors.

https://www.viasport.ca/sites/default/files/ReturntoSportGuidelines.pdf (released June 2, 2020)

Following receipt of the industry guidelines above, the FHBC draft framework for a ‘stage one’ return to responsible play was duly updated and formally considered by the FHBC Board of Directors on June 4, 2020. Whilst agreement was reached in principle relative to the framework detail, the FHBC Board of Directors deemed it prudent to delay a formal acceptance. As a result, the current FHBC framework for a ‘stage one’ responsible return to play remains in draft format but will be circulated to our Local Sport Organization (LSO) community early next week. The intent in circulating this latest draft framework, prior to the potential for formal acceptance, is in an effort to assist community wide preparation and planning for a ‘stage one’ return (or assessment as to the feasibility to return in ‘stage one’).

In anticipation of questions as to why the FHBC framework remains in draft format and pending formal approval, two fundamental hurdles remain:

  1. The approval of junior and senior legal activity waiver templates
  2. The provision for defense cost liability insurance coverage

The position of the FHBC Board of Directors at this time is that the hurdles above need to be appropriately addressed before a formal acceptance of the framework is considered. As a result, the FHBC Board of Directors will be scheduling responsible return to play meetings as deemed appropriate and/or as new information becomes available.

I am sure that the FHBC membership would agree that it remains essential that the sport of field hockey across BC returns responsibly and with the necessary confidence and protection. As a polite reminder to membership and with reference to the Field Hockey BC COVID-19 suspension notice dated March 20, 2020, Field Hockey BC continues to direct all members and affiliated clubs and associations to suspend all sanctioned field hockey activities in the province until further notice.

As we take the necessary steps towards a potential return to organized field hockey activity, I encourage all members to remain patient and optimistic for what we all trust will be a responsible, consistent, and confident return.

Yours in sport,

Mark Saunders
Executive Director
Field Hockey BC
June 5, 2020

Planning Assistance and Preparation for a Potential ‘Phase One’ Return to Responsible Play – Communique #2

You can access the PDF version of this document here.


Dear Field Hockey BC Members

On behalf of all involved with Field Hockey BC (FHBC), I would like to thank the membership for its continued patience as we all navigate the complexities of the COVID-19 response. This is especially relevant to the ongoing effort being made to allow for the BC Organized Sport Sector to responsibly return to play.

Further to Communique # 1 circulated earlier this month, I wanted to reassure our membership that every effort continues to be made to develop a ‘phase one’ framework for a responsible return. FHBC has already completed a second edition draft framework for consideration in ‘phase one’, a framework that will assist our community clubs and associations to provide for a consistent return at the local community level. As we all adapt to the unique nature of the COVID-19 response, a third draft framework edition is pending upon receipt of the latest Provincial Health Authority guideline for sport. As a reminder, such a framework considers the essential areas outlined within Communique # 1 which are as follows:

  • Field Facility Access – Field Management Plan
  • Facility Operations – Park Management Plan
  • Participants – Athlete and Coach/Leader Numbers, Protocols and Checklists
  • Sport Programming (Recreation and Skills) – Lesson/Activity Plans and Management of Equipment
  • Activity Liability and Accident Insurance and First Aid

In anticipation of requests for such a framework, it remains FHBC’s intention to take the following steps (PSO – Provincial Sport Organization – LSO – Local Sport Organization):

  1. to receive the latest Provincial Health Authority and Work Safe BC guideline update from the Provincial Government (PSO)
  2. to adapt the PSO recommended return to play framework as may be required – third edition (PSO)
  3. to submit the PSO return to play framework for approval (PSO)
  4. to liaise with club stakeholders and facility operators to frame what a return looks like at a local community level – based on the necessary guidelines and the PSO approved framework (PSO/LSO)
  5. to develop individualized and/or collective club stakeholder frameworks for a ‘phase one’ return (LSO)

Your Society continues to work with Sport BC, the BCRPA, viaSport, Municipal and Private facility providers, and Provincial Government Agencies to consider the necessary environment for a responsible and confident return. In order to provide for such responsibility and confidence, two key areas are currently being considered at some considerable length (both of which are pivotal to a ‘phase one’ return):

  1. An appropriate Permissions Protocol for a responsible, consistent, and confident return

Over the course of the last few days, the Provincial Government changed the permissions protocol for Organized Sports’ return to play from a Provincial Health Authority assessment and sign-off to an internal assessment and sign-off now deferring to the internal governance structure of each sport. As such, a deferral of this kind now requires a sports internal governance structure to interpret Provincial Health Authority guidelines and approve a framework for a responsible return. Certainly for FHBC and as is the case for the majority of Organized Sports across BC, this then falls squarely on the voluntary board governance structure of Provincial Sport Organizations (PSO’s). In light of this change in protocol and the obvious risks associated, a proactive lobby back to the Provincial Government is underway.

  1. The necessary insurance liability and defense cost coverage to protect organized sport against COVID-19 related legal action

It goes without saying that in order for our sport to confidently return, there is a need for adequate insurance protection. This past week has seen insurance underwriters reinforce their position as it relates to COVID-19 and whilst the news is disappointing for most, it is not necessarily unexpected. What this means to Field Hockey across Canada and indeed a large percentage of PSO’s across BC, is that there is currently no provision for liability and defense cost coverage associated with COVID-19 related claims or lawsuits. Field Hockey’s insurance underwriter ‘Markel Canada Ltd’ states “regardless of the organization having the Contagion Exclusion or not, Markel will not provide defense for COVID-19 related claims or lawsuits”. Again in light of this change in insurance coverage and the obvious risk associated, both a proactive lobby back to the Provincial Government, as well as, a similar approach to the insurance industry is underway.

So understandably as your heart potentially drops from reading this information, rest assured that field hockey in BC remains at the forefront of the political and bureaucratic effort to see organized sport responsibly return. Your PSO will be ready to assist in the creation of local community return to play planning and we will be ready to submit field hockey’s ‘phase one’ return to play framework for consideration and approval at the first opportunity.

With the seemingly daily changing COVID-19 response, please remain patient, optimistic and most importantly safe, as we all look forward to a responsible, consistent, and confident return.

Yours in sport,

Mark Saunders
Executive Director
Field Hockey BC                                                                                              May 15, 2020

Pat Hall inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

On May 8th the Board of the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame announced the names of the athletes and builders who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020.

In addition to four athletes – Bobby Ross (Rugby), Bob McLaren (Athletics), Joanne Mick (Softball) and Donnie Orr (Boxing) – our very own Pat Hall will be inducted as a Builder for Multi-Sports, along with the Vancouver Island Soccer League.

By Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame:

“For over 50 years, Pat has been involved with Field Hockey locally, provincially and nationally at all levels of the game from junior to senior. From 1961 to 1988, she was an active player with the Vancouver Island Ladies Field Hockey Association (VILFA). She began coaching in 1970 and umpiring in 1973, co-founding the South Island Field Hockey Umpires Association in 1988.

Although retiring as an umpire in 2000, Pat continues to coach teams in various divisions. Pat served on the executive of the VILFA for over 40 years and has held many positions on the Boards of the BC and Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Associations.

She has received numerous awards over the years including Victoria Sports Person of the Year, Sport BC President’s Award, VILFA Life Membership and, in 2013, the VILFA introduced the Pat Hall Officials Development Award.

Her contributions to Softball are almost as numerous. She became involved with the Stuffy McGinnis Softball League in 1960 and served as President from 1975-1993. From 1987 to 1999, Pat was Softball BC Senior District Coordinator and in 1996, led the restructuring of junior softball into three levels.”

Click here to read the full article.

Planning Assistance and Preparation for a Potential ‘Phase One’ Return to Responsible Play – Communique #1

You can access the PDF version of this document here.


‘Phase One’ – Recreational Activity and Skills Training

Dear Field Hockey BC Members

Over the past few days, Field Hockey BC has been involved in a number of digital forums targeted at an environmental analysis into what an appropriate and responsible return to play may look like, whilst of course adhering to current COVID-19 protocols, policies, and restrictions in place. As well as attending a number of informative Provincial Sport Organization (PSO) meetings, Field Hockey BC has also been invited by both Sport BC and the BCRPA to assist in helping to map out a set of principles and protocols that look to a return to recreational and skills based outdoor play. It is important here to emphasize that such an environmental assessment for a potential return MUST maintain social distancing and health and safety regulations in place and at this time ‘game based’ field hockey play is not in the frame. As an example, current areas for consideration include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Field Facility Access – Field Management Plan
  2. Facility Operations – Park Management Plan
  3. Participants – Athlete and Coach/Leader Numbers, Protocols and Checklists
  4. Sport Programming (Recreation and Skills) – Lesson/Activity Plans and Management of Equipment
  5. Activity Liability and Accident Insurance and First Aid

As a passionate organized sport community, it is evident and understandable that many of us are eager to know when and under what conditions field hockey will be permitted to return to play. Field Hockey BC’s call to our community members continues to be one for patience as we work through what must be a consistent and responsible return.

Having said that, this does not mean we wait for planning and preparation to begin and as a result Field Hockey BC will continue to work with our organized sport, recreation, governmental, facility, and health sector partners to plan and prepare for a phased return to play. Investigation into the potential parameters for a ‘Phase One’ return began in earnest this week and as well as taking a provincial lead in the development of an environmental road map, Field Hockey BC will be compiling and circulating a series of community surveys that assist our sport specific planning for each phase of a responsible return.

What we do know for ‘Phase One’ consideration is that Field Hockey BC will be required to submit a recreational/skills-based action plan that MUST be vetted by the appropriate sport, recreation, and health authority. Sports will only be permitted to return to play having secured the appropriate permission to do so and NO CONSIDERATION will be made available until the Provincial Government announces the opportunity to do so.

In anticipation of questions here, it is very likely that such a ‘Phase One’ action plan will need to be followed by everyone within our field hockey community with limited or no flexibility in interpretation. To aid such an action plan and present a fun, safe, and progressive environment, Field Hockey BC will be looking to compile a library of activity options and we will be reaching out to community members for assistance and input into the ongoing development of such resources.

As we collectively look to navigate the COVID-19 response, we continue to encourage you all to stay safe and well and where appropriate invite you to take advantage of field hockey professional development opportunities and digital resource information available. We look forward to adding to this communique in the days and weeks to come.

Yours in sport,

Mark Saunders
Executive Director
Field Hockey BC                                                                                              May 1, 2020

Provincial Pathway Review Project: Communique #2 – Club Feedback Questionnaire


Earlier this month, Field Hockey BC announced the launch of the Provincial Athlete Pathway Review Project.  The main purpose of the project is to review and evaluate the current FHBC athlete pathway and program model to ensure the Society is meeting the needs of the field hockey community and providing BC athletes with the best available high performance training environment, competitions and opportunities. In order to improve Club-PSO-NSO alignment, the review will examine how FHBC can work collaboratively with the existing club and league structures in BC, as well as seamlessly integrate with the national program pathway.

To gain a better understanding of the perspective of member clubs, Field Hockey BC has sent each member club in the province a Club Feedback Questionnaire.  The purpose of the questionnaire is to obtain specific feedback regarding performance stream programming offered directly through the Society that will inform the development of a new FHBC Provincial Athlete Pathway and FHBC Athlete Program Model.

FHBC believes it is important that every club in the province is given an opportunity to be heard and bring forward their ideas. We encourage any FHBC member who would like to share their feedback with club officials to reach out and provide their input. FHBC has asked each club to complete ONE questionnaire per club that reflects the views of the club as a whole. The deadline for clubs to submit the Club Feedback Questionnaire to the FHBC is May 8th.

FHBC would also like to take this opportunity to introduce and thank the following Provincial Pathway Working Group members who are generously volunteering their time to assist with this project:

Project Lead: Jennifer Taylor, FHBC Athlete Program Director
Project Team Members: Ali (Lee) Baggott, Ben Fecht, Caitlin Evans Erickson, Carys Swan, Chris Tyrrell, Erin De Sousa, Gavin Bains, Geoff Matthews, Jenn Beagan, Kent McKinnon, Michelle Savich, Robin D’Abreo and Thora Rae.
FHBC Staff Support: John Sacré, Donna Cumming and Krista Thompson.

If you would like more information regarding the Club Feedback Questionnaire or the Provincial Pathway Review Project, please click on the following link: Provincial Pathway Review Project.

Community Umpire Course is currently free until August

FHBC has made the decision to remove the cost for the Community Umpire Course until August 31st, 2020. This is being offered to all members of the field hockey community within Canada.
Contact eventsandofficials@fieldhockeybc.com with your name, club, province and Field Hockey Membership Number, who will provide you with the instructions to access the course free of charge.
This will enable more umpires to complete the courses prior to getting back on the field and playing the game that we love.

Field Hockey BC Regional Event Planning – COVID-19

You can access the PDF version of this statement here.

Due to an ongoing environmental analysis as a result of COVID-19, Field Hockey BC is currently working with 3 potential planning windows in order to complete the 2019-20 Regional Program and the associated Athlete Talent Identification cycle. The three proposed timelines are outlined below:

Window #1
• Training Program to resume beginning of July 2020 (2-4 training sessions prior to event)
• Regional Talent ID Events – held between July 11 – July 30

Window #2
• Training Program to resume at the end of July 2020 (2-4 training sessions prior to event)
• Regional Talent ID Events – held between August 4 – August 20

Window #3
• Training Program to resume Mid-August 2020 (2-4 training sessions prior to event)
• Regional Talent ID Events – held between August 18 – September 4

FHBC continues to carefully monitor the COVID-19 situation, and, as a result, plans may have to change to adhere and align to both government and municipal regulations in place. The intention is to initially aim for Window #1, pushing back to Window #2 or #3 as may be required due to environmental factors. Should FHBC be unable to host event- based talent identification peaks during any of these three windows (due to COVID-19 group and/or travel restriction), a talent identification training program is proposed to take place by regional geographical center during a similar calendar time-frame.