Framework Creation and Approval for the ‘Second Stage’ of Responsible Return to Play – Communique #6

You can access the PDF version of this document here.


Second Stage’ – The “Cohort” Model

Dear Field Hockey BC Members

On behalf of the Field Hockey BC (FHBC) Board of Directors and following the announcement earlier this week from the BC Provincial Government, I am pleased to report that work has begun in earnest to complete due process towards an approval of a Second Stage Responsible Return to Play Framework for field hockey in BC. This second stage return for the organized sport sector across BC takes place within phase three of BC’s COVID-19 restart plan (apologies in advance for any confusion here), and offers the opportunity for sport to assess the viability to progressively loosen the physical distancing protocols to allow for modified or standardized game or competitive play.

The second stage responsible return to play introduces the “cohort” model which put simply allows for a progressive game play return involving greater permissible participant interaction on the field of play. Such a cohort model also allows for the same level of participant interaction in a training or recreational context. Although the framework will provide more detailed information on adherence to safety protocols, it is important to note that greater participant interaction is strictly restricted to the field of play during this second stage return and physical distancing protocols are in effect outside of the field of play boundary (especially pertinent when utilizing field infrastructure such as team benches and technical areas which is now a permitted progression from stage one). Field Hockey participant activity numbers will be progressed from stage one guidelines but will be restricted to the provincial health office ‘group of 50’ rule (allowing for up to a maximum of 49 participants on a single field facility at any one time).

Mindful that a great many of our members have already enquired as to why field hockey cannot immediately move to second stage implementation, FHBC is required to follow due process and formally approve a second stage responsible return to play framework (as was the case with the stage one approval protocol). To this end, the FHBC Board of Directors will meet formally to consider such an approval on the evening of September 3, 2020. Once approval has been obtained, the second stage responsible return to play framework will be sent to the provincial government agency viaSport for public posting and will also be posted and available for download from the Society website. Thereafter, Local Sport Organizations (LSO’s) will be able to develop, refine, and approve their second stage safety plans and move to practical implementation. It is important to note that LSO’s can choose to move towards implementation at whatever speed is most appropriate and can continue to develop responsible return to play safety plans utilizing stage one or stage two guidelines.

For those members considering a return to play, I would politely remind you to remember to register your membership prior to stepping on the field of play. It remains essential that all active participants have a valid and paid FHBC and Field Hockey Canada (FHC) membership. The online registration portal is available in the normal way from the FHBC website (www.fieldhockeybc.com).

In closing, it is evident and understandable that many of us are eager to move to the second stage of responsible return to play and I once again ask for your patience and consideration as we navigate due process to achieve this end. For many of us who have experienced the journey to date in helping to navigate the BC sport sectors COVID-19 response, it is on the one hand surprising that our sector has been given the flexibility to consider a second stage return to standardized game play, but on the other hand this provides for a return to club and league game play at a time when I’m sure most feared a winter season may have been lost. Such a fantastic opportunity comes with an even greater responsibility to do so as safely as possible for all involved and we wish everyone the very best for an exciting and optimistic opening to a new season.

Yours in sport,

Mark Saunders
Executive Director
Field Hockey BC, August 28, 2020

IMPORTANT: COVID-19 Consideration and Planning (March 20, 2020)

You can access the PDF version of this document here.


As the Organized Sport Sector in BC responds to the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19, Field Hockey BC continues to monitor the potential impact to our team sport environment. Given the growing and unprecedented uncertainty surrounding this health pandemic, Field Hockey BC is directing all members and affiliated clubs and associations to suspend all sanctioned field hockey activities in the province until further notice.

This decision will be monitored daily and reviewed on a week to week basis by the Field Hockey BC Board of Directors, with the expectation that a next suspension update will be posted early in April. As new information is received from both Federal and Provincial Government agencies, Field Hockey BC will provide appropriate program and service updates that we hope over time will include a responsible and gradual return to play. Field Hockey BC cannot emphasize enough that the health and safety of all participants in the field hockey community in BC is of the utmost importance and is central to any decision-making process.

To ensure the health and safety of the players, coaches, officials, volunteers, and fans in BC, Field Hockey BC recommends that all affiliated Leagues, Clubs, and Associations communicate to their members that they will cease all sanctioned field hockey operations immediately and until further notice. Field Hockey BC sanctioned field hockey activities include, but are not limited to, all indoor and outdoor competitions, leagues, training, practices, matches, in-person coach and official education, and formalized club group activities. The intent of this suspension is to limit situations of physical contact.

Whilst the entire Field Hockey Community in BC continues to work hard on contingency planning for the possibility that restrictions may be lifted over time, please stay patient as we collectively consider ongoing environmental implications. Field Hockey BC’s operational continuity plan is for Society staff to work remotely and all staff are equipped to continue their daily functions. Electronic media will be utilized to maintain lines of communication, with community members able to connect via phone and/or email in the normal way.

Field Hockey BC thanks you for your patience as we do our part to support all of the unprecedented steps taking place to slow the spread of COVID-19. You can stay up-to-date on COVID-19 information by visiting the BC Government website and the Ministry of Health website. Our thoughts are with all of you and your families during this challenging time.

FHBC BOD, March 20, 2020

Letter to FHBC Members from the FHBC Board of Directors

Dear Field Hockey BC Members,

Please find below a letter from the desk of the FHBC President, sent to the FHBC Membership on behalf of the FHBC Board of Directors. You may also download the letter as a PDF file here. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at waterman@vjview.com.

Thank you in advance for the time taken in consideration.

Alan Waterman
President
Field Hockey BC 


Hello fellow FHBC Member,

I write to you on behalf of the Board of Field Hockey BC to address issues of urgent concern to many members as we approach the Annual General Meeting scheduled for February 10th.

These concerns have been documented by member clubs of the Greater Vancouver Junior Field Hockey League, and most revolve around conflicts between junior leagues and High Performance sessions. The FHBC Board has been working collaboratively with the GVJFHL for several months, and continues with further meetings scheduled even this month, in an on-going effort to alleviate the points raised. Those points can be found in this public club posting: http://www.vancouverhawks.com/members/.

To address the points individually, the collaborative meetings with the GVJFHL have already produced results in:

  • Working together to reduce/eliminate scheduling conflicts
  • Working toward greater emphasis on Club Championships
  • Discussing best methods to select and train athletes for provincial teams that would also be inclusive for those outside the Greater Vancouver region

In a nutshell, the FHBC Board has heard loud and clear that some aspects of High Performance programming have been detrimental to league play and club activity. And we are determined to work toward beneficial solutions that alleviate the situation while still developing our players and our sport to the highest level for all ages, all abilities, in all regions of the province.

Also circulating is a document from GVJFHL clubs entitled, Pathway to Change: http://www.vancouverhawks.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2024/2020/01/Pathway-to-Change-1-1-2.pdf.

The Board feels the articles in this document need to be addressed to bring clarity and understanding for our members to the nuances of working under provincial and national sport circumstances.

Programming: The model envisioned would work well for clubs with a large core group of members and infrastructure. The danger is that many clubs would see their junior players gravitate to larger clubs resulting in the creation of super-clubs, with the smallest clubs potentially disappearing or reduced to seniors-only. Outside the Lower Mainland a strong level of success is not envisioned for this model.

Competition: There are misconceptions within this article. While most leagues are sanctioned by FHBC for insurance purposes, they are otherwise independent entities. To relinquish control to FHBC would require a dissolution of each league by league membership vote. FHBC cannot dictate this outcome. For FHBC to take over the running of leagues, a cost analysis has shown the requirement of an additional three full-time positions at an estimate of <$150,000/year. These calculations come from the current weekly hours of paid league administrators and volunteers. There would also be the need for an additional online platform with substantial capital costs. In all, this budgetary item would be roughly the equivalent of total FHBC membership fees. In essence, it would be doable if members approved a doubling of fees or severe cuts to programming (such as coaching, umpiring, and technical official education/certification).

Development: This is largely addressed in the comments under Programming. It should be noted that frameworks, pathways and curricula already exist for athletes, coaches and officials (see Governance below).

Strategy: The FHBC Board agrees that consultation and communication to members and member clubs can and should be improved.

Governance: Sections on guidelines, governance and certification are available online at fieldhockeybc.com Coaching standards are set nationally by the NCCP (coaching) and FHC (coaches, umpires and technical officials). Additionally, FHBC created the Provincial Coach Education Pathway and Courses to specifically target community-level, grassroots coaches.

Marketing & Advocacy: The Board also agrees that we can always do better in marketing our sport. This past year has seen a greater emphasis on social media posts that are not necessarily focused on elite athletes but everyday members, with an eye to driving more people to the main website and all aspects of field hockey in BC. When it comes to lobbying for resources, FHBC is in constant contact with, and under constant scrutiny by the provincial government. Their own auditing processes deem we are punching above of our weight and consequently funded better than the vast majority of sports our size. There is a concern, though, that should self-funding High Performance programs be removed from our overall budget then FHBC would drop below the threshold for our current provincial grants, resulting in cuts to other programs.

Much of the discussion in this letter has revolved around junior athletes and, for more than a decade, FHBC’s approach to the development of our juniors has resulted in greater numbers of well-trained BC athletes at the elite level, an alignment with Field Hockey Canada’s NextGen Program and National Championships, and now emulation by other provinces. All of this is a synergy we would hate to lose and one that, with collaboration and mutual goodwill, we can all continue to nurture.

To be clear, this letter is not about my position or any other Board Member’s position in the upcoming AGM. I very much welcome the engagement of more people in the governance of our sport and the infusion of fresh ideas.

With that in mind, please take some time to reflect on the future of field hockey across this province, then gather your proxy votes for representatives attending the AGM so that what you feel is right for you and for hockey is expressed at this meeting.

Proxies can be as simple as a written or electronic document that contains your name, email address, and FHBC membership number. Junior members under the age of 18 must designate a senior member in good standing, who must be over 18 years of age, to vote on their behalf. More details on voting procedures at the AGM can be found at https://fieldhockeybc.com/about/constitution-bylaws/.

If you have any further questions about the above points or any other issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,

Alan Waterman
President, Field Hockey BC
waterman@vjview.com

Great Weekend of Hockey at the U15 Girls Club Championships!

Our Club Championships season wrapped up with an outstanding weekend of competition at the U15 Girls Club Championships on June 15-16, 2019 at the University of Victoria. This tournament saw 11 teams across two tiers compete for the Club Championship title.

Tier 1 was played in round robin format, which saw the Polar Bears come out on top with the gold medal and the host Victoria team take silver. Sea to Sky followed up with the bronze. In tier 2, the Vancouver Hawks 2 played Victoria 2 in the gold medal game. The Hawks won gold and Victoria took a second silver medal home for their club. West Van 2 claimed the bronze medal.

Field Hockey BC would like to say a huge thank you to Victoria Junior Field Hockey Association for hosting a wonderful tournament. We would like to congratulate all athletes and teams who took part in the tournament, as well as all of our umpires, coaches and technical staff who gave their time to ensure the tournament ran smoothly. Finally, thank you to all who contributed to another outstanding Club Championship season. We are excited to see you all again next year!

U13 Club Championships Get Underway!

The U13 Boys and Girls Club Championship Festival will take place this weekend, June 1-2, 2019 at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex West in Burnaby, BC.

There will be a total of 20 teams from across BC participating in this Festival, hosted by the Burnaby Bears Field Hockey Club. This is a great opportunity for our young athletes to develop their skills and meet players from around the province. For a full weekend schedule and more tournament details, visit the Club Championships page.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend in Burnaby!

U18 Club Championships Take Place this Weekend

We have an exciting weekend of field hockey ahead of us as the U18 Boys and Girls Club Championships will take place May 10-12, 2019 at Tamanawis Park and Cloverdale Athletic Park in Surrey, BC.

There will be a total of 20 teams representing 13 clubs across BC competing in this tournament, hosted by India Field Hockey Club. For a full weekend schedule and more tournament details, visit the Club Championships page.

We will see you this weekend in Surrey for some sunny weather and great hockey!

 

2019 FHBC Rule Amendments

With junior leagues across the province getting set to be underway, a reminder that there are five key amendments to the 2019 International Hockey Federation (FIH) rules. A simplified description of these amendments is found below and the full 2019 rules are available at: http://www.fih.ch/media/13164482/fih-rules-of-hockey-2019-final-website.pdf

Upcoming Field Hockey BC tournaments will seek to fully adopt the new rules, dependent on field allotments and the appointment of technical officials to events. FHBC will release tournament regulations in advance of each event.

FHBC strongly recommends that each league in BC adopt the new rules to allow for clarity amongst the hockey community that includes athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators.

2019 Amendments

  • Timing – Four Quarters and Penalty Corners
    1. Games are now four quarters
      1. Short breaks between quarters one and two, and quarters three and four (2 minutes) allows more coaching opportunities.
      2. A regular half time break still takes place
  • Umpires should time and monitor these breaks to ensure that games run on time
  1. Time is stopped when a penalty corner is awarded
    1. If available, technical officials can manage timing – stopping and restarting
      1. If umpires are managing time, umpires should stop time when a penalty corner is called
      2. When players are ready to take the penalty corner, the umpire managing the penalty corner should blow time in and start time again
      3. Umpires should encourage players to avoid delay when setting up for penalty corners and use common sense when managing the set up of the corner

N.B. FIH has introduced a tournament regulation that includes the use of a 40-second clock to manage the time between the awarding and the taking of a penalty corner – this is a tournament regulation and may be used at specific events, rather than an amendment to the rules

  • Removal of Goalkeeping privileges for substitute field player
    1. Teams have now two options:
      1. They either play with a goalkeeper who wears full protective equipment comprising at least headgear, leg guards and kickers and who is also permitted to wear goalkeeping hand protectors and other protective equipment, or
      2. They play with only field players
  • Defending free hits within 5 meters of the circle
    1. Players other than the attacker taking the free hit must be at least five meters away, including when they are in their circle
    2. If the attacker however chooses to take a quick the free hit, then defenders who are inside the circle and within five meters from the ball may shadow around the inside of the circle
    3. Defenders, within 5m of the free hit, inside the circle can shadow but may not attempt to play the ball until it has traveled 5m or has been touched by a defender who was 5m away when the free hit was taken
  • Free hits awarded inside the defensive circle
    1. Defenders may take a free hit awarded in the circle anywhere inside the circle or up to 15 meters from the back-line in line with the location of the offence, parallel to the side-line
  • Completion of a penalty corner
    1. Rules regarding the completion of a penalty corner have been simplified: the option that a penalty corner is completed when the ball travels outside the circle for the second time, no longer exists.
    2. A penalty corner is considered completed when:
      1. A goal is scored
      2. A free hit is awarded to the defending team
  • The ball travels more than 5 metres outside the circle
  1. The ball is played over the back-line and a penalty corner is not awarded
  2. A defender commits an offence which does not result in another penalty corner
  3. A penalty stroke is awarded
  • A bully is awarded

VFHL Playoff Recap

The Vancouver Field Hockey League finals took place at Eric Hamber Field on Saturday, April 6th. There was great action across all three men’s divisions, including a shootout thriller in the Men’s Premier League. Congratulations to the Playoff Champions:

  • Premier: India Club (5-4 Shootout W vs West Coast Kings)
  • Comp 1: Surinder Lions (4-0 W vs West Vancouver FHC)
  • Comp 2: West Coast Kings (5-1 W vs Dashmesh)

Thank you to all players, coaches, volunteers, administrators and officials for making this another successful season! Visit the VFHL Website for a list of results.

 

India Club, Premier Division Champions.

Spring League Instagram Contest

It’s finally here – Spring League starts tomorrow and we want to hear all about it! Take part in the FHBC Spring League Social Media Contest for a chance to win a “Field Hockey is Life” t-shirt!

How to Enter:

  1. Take a photo or video with your Spring League team, post it on Instagram and tag @fieldhockeybc.
  2. E-mail your photo/video to info@fieldhockeybc.com or send it to us via Direct Message on Instagram. Please include your name, contact information and club.

The first deadline for submission is Monday, May 6th. Winner will be announced Wednesday, May 8th. 

Rules:

Photos and videos can be on or off field, individual or team photos. Submissions must contain one or more players in their club uniform to be considered. Individuals may submit up to three entries. By entering the contest, you consent that Field Hockey BC  has to right to publish and re-distribute your photo or video.

Prizes:

One contest winner will be selected per submission window. The first contest winner will receive a free “Field Hockey is Life” t-shirt from Field Hockey BC!