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New Jersey Return to Play

By Tim Holtz, 10/16/20, 5:30PM EDT



This document supplements the Return to Participation Guidelines released by the Atlantic Amateur Hockey Association on August 7, 2020. The information included herein is specific to no-contact practices, contact practices and competitions held in the State of New Jersey and is subject to change as the need and regulatory requirements demand.

This document is not intended to modify or replace USA Hockey, Federal, State, or Local health guidelines or medical or expert advice relating to participation in any activity. Please consult your state and local Public Health officials or your qualified healthcare provider about any specific questions you may have.


  • The AAHA does not direct or control the operations of rink facilities, and rinks may impose measures that are stricter than, or in addition to, those outlined in these Guidelines.

  • AAHA recommends that each rink facility communicate its Policies, Procedures, and Operating protocols with the public entering its facility. These communicated Policies, Procedures and Protocols should include, but are not limited to, the arrival and departure times of players, coaches, officials or other personnel essential to a no-contact practice, contact practice or competition.

  • Participants should be aware of the rink facility’s Policies, Procedures, and Operating protocols prior to arriving at the facility.

  • Associations must designate a point-of-contact person who is familiar with these Guidelines, is available to answer questions, and notify members and others, including leagues, rink facilities, officiating assignors, etc. of a diagnosed positive outbreak within a team or Association.

  • Executive Order 187 (EO 187) states, “All no-contact practices, contact practices and competitions are subject to the current indoor gathering limit of 25% of the capacity of the room in which it takes place, with such limit not to exceed 25 persons or be smaller than 10 persons. However, if the number of individuals who are necessary for a no-contact practice, contact practice, or competition, such as players, coaches, and referees, is greater than 25 persons, such a no-contact practice, contact practice, or competition may proceed, as long as no individuals are present who are not necessary for the no-contact practice, contact practice, or competition, such as spectators.” As EO 187 prohibits spectators, it is incumbent on each Association to properly advise their parents of the requirements, make every effort to support the rink facility in the enforcement of this provision, and to advise their opponent(s) of this condition, especially those teams that are traveling from outside of the State of New Jersey.

  • Any Player, Coach, Official, or other personnel essential to a no-contact practice, contact practice or competition who may be at a higher risk for severe illness should not participate in any on-ice activity.

  • All Players, Coaches, Officials and other personnel essential to a no-contact practice, contact practice or competition must be screened through a temperature check and/or a health questionnaire prior to every practice and game. It is the home team’s responsibility to screen the Officials working each game.

  • Players, Coaches, Officials and other essential personnel showing symptoms of COVID-19 shall not be permitted to participate.

  • If any individual develops symptoms of COVID-19 during the activity, they should promptly inform organizers and MUST be removed from the activity.

  • If you do not feel well, you must stay home.

  • It is the home team’s responsibility to collect attendance information for all Players, Coaches,

    Officials and other personnel essential to a competition for both their team and the opposing team (NJ Department of Health Guidance for Sports Activities dated October 12, 2020). The Visiting Team Coaches/Managers are to coordinate the transfer of information. It is recommended that attendance records be maintained. Leagues may have additional requirements.

  • Locker room use is not permitted in accordance with EO-187 and Department of Health Guidance.

  • Players must arrive in full equipment to the facility, and may only put on skates, helmets, and gloves once inside the rink or as guided by the rink facility policies and operating procedures. Goaltenders may put leg pads on in the rink.

  • We recommend that Officials be provided access to a changing room large enough to comply with current social distancing requirements, subject to the rink facility procedures and protocols.

  • Coaches and Team Managers must have accurate contact information (including phone number) for all Players, Coaches and other essential personnel on their team in the event of an emergency while at the rink.

  • Officials must have up-to-date contact information (including phone number) in all game assigning program profiles.

  • Off-ice interactions (socializing, team meetings, dry-land activities) must follow Federal, State, and Local regulations as well as rink facility policies and procedures.

  • Equipment should be cleaned in-between uses.


  • The home team must provide hand sanitizer in the scorekeeper box for use by the Officials or any other participant.

  • SafeSport protocols remain in effect.

  • Officials will encourage Players to refrain from any interaction with an opponent during a stoppage in play. Players and Coaches must understand the seriousness of the potential for the spread of the virus and conduct themselves with the utmost sportsmanship and class at all times.

  • Coaches must ensure that benches are left clean at the end of each game. All trash and empty water bottles must be removed.

  • No handshakes between coaches, players, or officials.

  • At the end of the game, both teams will line up on their blue lines and perform a stick salute in lieu of a handshake line.

  • Teams enter and exit the ice separately in accordance with rink facility protocols.


    o Coaches must wear face coverings on the bench during games, on the ice during practices (as practical), and at all other times in the rink facility.

o Coaches not wearing a face covering on the bench during a game are subject to a bench minor penalty, which may progress to a game misconduct, as appropriate.

o All Players and Officials must wear face coverings in the rink at all times except when on the ice or bench.

o Players, Coaches and Officials must have their own re-hydration bottle, labeled with their name. It must be filled before arriving at the rink.
o Sharing of water bottles is not permitted.
o Players, Coaches or Officials utilizing a towel must have their own, labeled with their name.
o Sharing of towels is not permitted.