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Letter from the Director - August 2020

By JP, 08/03/20, 9:00PM EDT

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I am writing to give you an update on the status of Bison Hockey, New York State Amateur Hockey (NYSAHA) and USA Hockey as we navigate through this uncertain and ever changing time.

We have lots of decision makers to respond to...the President, the Governor, Erie County Executive, Mayor of Buffalo (since we operate a city owned facility), youth sports associations at the national, state & local levels. It’s an extensive list. 

As of August 1, USA Hockey has given each district throughout the country the ability to make decisions on hockey in their area based on state and local government regulations. As such, each district has different timelines and rules for their area.  New York State Amateur Hockey Association has not sanctioned hockey in New York.  In addition, it has not sanctioned hockey to be played outside of New York.  This is a result of the State of New York guidelines.  At this writing, NYSAHA has a plan for return.  It is understood that Governor Cuomo will be delivering information next week on sports, and this information will give us information on which direction we are heading moving forward.  At this time, Bison Hockey and all other organizations in NY are on hold.  

Travel Hockey - Travel teams were given a period in June to sign players to their roster, and that period ended July 1. Travel teams are not permitted to sign additional players until NYSAHA approves on-ice tryouts.  

MOHL Hockey – We are planning to field MOHL teams at the Squirt, Peewee, Bantam and Midget 16U level heading into 2020-2021.  Organizational emails will be sent throughout this week to players in each age group.  However, if you are interested in MOHL Hockey, please head to the Team Page and contact one of the coaches.  

Bison Hockey Master Ice Schedule - We have drafted multiple versions of ice schedules for the season. We are waiting to hear more about games, number of players allowed on the ice, and sanction dates in the next week.  Teams are permitted to skate on their own at this time provided they follow the state guidelines.  Our Master Schedule will be posted after the announcement of guidelines from NYSAHA.

Facilities Update - North Buffalo Rink reopened in early July. We are strictly adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. The rink is in outstanding condition. August rentals are very robust. Buffalo State College Arena is closed for the entire year. Nichols School Rink is planning to open in mid September, subject to NY State guidelines for school reopenings.

Registration - The registration page is open.  We encourage families to register for the 2020-2021 season.  We are expecting to run a full season.  We are not sure when we will be playing games, but we feel confident that we will have a full season in some form.  Should we lose any portion the season, Bison Hockey will refund program fees accordingly. We are working on a more detailed policy but understand that we will honor our part in this.  Players will not be permitted on Bison ice if they are not registered.  

We are excited to get the year started. We will continue to keep everyone updated as we learn more about the future.  We are in the same boat as schools across NY State, the situation is constantly changing. You have our assurance, we are working to make this an enjoyable experience for players and families in the 2020-2021 season.

Thank you,

Jamie Printz
Hockey Director
Buffalo Bison Hockey Association