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Bison Hockey COVID-19 Refund Policy 2020

Covid-19 Refund Policy

By Anne Johnston Fera, 09/03/20, 8:45AM EDT


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Bison Hockey Association - Covid-19 Refund Policy Updated


September 1, 2020

Bison Hockey acknowledges the uncertainty of our programming for the upcoming 2020-2021 hockey season, due to COVID-19. We currently anticipate the hockey season getting started in September. We will continue to take direction from a number of governing bodies, including Governor Cuomo’s office and Erie County Executive Poloncarz. Given that the North Buffalo Rink is owned by the City of Buffalo we have to remain in full compliance with Mayor Brown’s office as well. USA Hockey and New York State Amateur Hockey (NYSAHA) also determine what we as a member association can and cannot do. In short, we report to lots of folks these days.

If spikes and restrictions occur we will inform our member families accordingly. Please note, the season may start later or end earlier, as a result of COVID-19. Tournament play and restrictions from state to state travel may affect our teams, including tournaments and local programming. Travel restrictions currently remain in effect at the Canadian border.


Bison Hockey Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We strive to maintain policies that are fair and reasonable for our membership and allow Bison Hockey to continue to operate. Given the uncertainty around the current COVID-19 pandemic, Bison Hockey has adopted this this COVID-19 refund policy which will go into effect only if the 2020-2021 season is delayed, halted temporarily or cancelled entirely in each case due to a complete closure of ice rink facilities.

In each case, Bison Hockey will make an assessment in its reasonable discretion of any refundable amounts, taking into account the portion of the season impacted by such delay, halt or cancellation and accounting for any unrecoverable expenses incurred and other fixed operating costs. This assessment may take some time to work through with our rink operators. Certain costs incurred by Bison Hockey are non-refundable in nature and often occur prior to the start of the season. These costs are covered by the “Program Fee”. Examples include but are not limited to jerseys, socks, pant shells, instructional skill development costs. Many of our Bison travel teams also have a “Team Fee” that cover team travel, tournament entry fees, team clothing and team events. Those fees are the responsibility of each team to manage. Those fees are not related to the Program Fee payable to Bison Hockey Association. The USA Hockey player registration fee does not go to Bison Hockey. It is designed to pay for liability insurance for every registered player. A player cannot register with Bison Hockey without registering with USA Hockey first.

If it is determined that amounts are to be refunded from the “Program Fee”, members will be notified and have the following options with respect to such refund:

  • Refund –Refund your credit card or by check (less a 3% processing fee).
  • Account Credit – Credit towards the next season’s program fee for any family account
  • Donation to Bison Hockey Association – Donate your refundable balance in lieu of a credit or refund. It is fully tax-deductible.

Frequently Asked Questions

We cannot add players to official team rosters until they are registered with USA Hockey & Bison Hockey. Players must be paid up before being placed on a team roster.

The North Buffalo Rink tries to operate at breakeven annually. Any surplus funds are reinvested in the facility. That is why the facility is in such good working condition. Our rink staff is committed to maintaining a safe and clean facility. We require the full support of our tenants to fulfill that pledge.

Bison Hockey Program Fees do not subsidize the North Buffalo Rink. We pay the same market rate as all other tenants. Historically Bison Hockey has rented approximately 28% of the available ice time annually at the North Buffalo Rink.

Bison Hockey does not pay its board members. Board members do not receive a discount on their Program Fees. All board members all volunteers.

The Director of Hockey, the Rink Manager and our Skills Instructors are paid for their time.

Bison Hockey will not hold our annual Buffalo Sabres Ticket Raffle this season due to the uncertain nature of the upcoming NHL season. In years past, we used the proceeds from the raffle to help underwrite financial aid support for families in need of assistance. Financial aid support is available this season, on a player by player basis. The process is confidential.

Buffalo State College Arena is closed for the season.

Bison Hockey has been the principal outside tenant of the Nichols School Rink since our inception in 1959. We will continue to rent ice at Nichols once the facility opens. It is anticipated to open later in September 2020.

Rental ice at the two rinks we have historically used in Ridgeway and Niagara Falls, Ontario are not accessible due to travel restrictions at the Canadian border.

Go to our website for any public announcements. We are located at

Barney Walsh – President - Bison Hockey