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Hockey & Covid Update

08/24/2020, 8:15pm MDT
By Grayson Fertig

Telluride LizardHead Hockey 2020-21

Dear All Potential Players and Families,

Let’s have a great year.

What it all comes down to for me and the thing I’ve been most focused on teaching since I began here in Telluride is developing a player’s feel for the game.  Regardless of the amount of hockey specific skill a player can amass in a youth hockey career I want that kid to get the feeling of the game.

This season is going to be different not just in the schedule and logistics, but in how we think about things.  I am actively developing practice strategies which will drive a player's understanding and imagination in using their skill set. 

We cannot rely on games against other teams to create a fire to get better.  We cannot be driven by the externalities of a league, standings, the possibility of winning a trophy, whatever; instead we’ve got to make a commitment to get better every time we step on the ice.  As good as we were last year we weren’t at the place I can envision our program getting to this year.

I’m really looking forward to the uniqueness of next year because I think the team dynamics will be better than ever. If we do it right as a collective the challenges will bring us together and the result will be the closest knit and the most focused teams we’ve seen thus far.  

You can count on me to lead in a way that will not let anyone stand still.  Everyone is going to get better across the season.  

October 18th the ice goes down and our first practices will be that week.  There will be some specific protocols that we will have to ALL learn and follow.  We need every family to do their part.  Any inconveniences will be a small price to pay for 5 months of healthy hockey.  Once we get the hang of things my hope is that we’ll get a good flow going.  

To start the season each age group will have 2 designated PRACTICE times that will be longer than last year(likely 75 minutes).  The reason for this reduction of practices per week (visits to the rink)is that we will need more time between sessions to keep pace with corona virus usage requirements and 2 practices is less exposure to each other while maintaining close to the same total amount of ice-time.  More on those evolving guidelines and protocols as the season comes closer.  

We have a game schedule set with our WCHL partner teams for our co-ed teams squirt-bantam.  The WCHL is made of mountain towns similar to ours and I have been working hard with my colleagues to create the safest hockey environments for everyone involved.  We’ve made  commitment to this league and we are going to work through this year with our partner associations.  We would only play games if we got the green light from USA Hockey, CAHA, San Miguel County, and Telluride Parks & Rec.  From there I would see which families were willing to take whatever risk will be involved in playing against other teams from other counties.  

Our u-15 and u-12 girls teams in the CGHL will play an exhibition style, schedule until November 18.  At that date we will meet as a state wide organizing body to assess the viability of a season that starts December 1 and runs through the end of February.  Regardless of how many official games we can get in against other teams WE WILL have the end of the season tournament like last year the weekend of February 19-21.

Our mite and mini-mite programs will continue as they have in the past with two 1 hour practice sessions per week.  I can foresee some changes that limit the number of kids on the ice at one time, structure how and where we tie skates/dress our younger players, and how we support them as their biggest fans. 

Our high school program will start on October 18 as well and be focused on player development and productive physical outlet for teenagers.  I’ve detailed more of that approach in a separate letter.

Across the board I plan to lead high-level practices during the week focusing on skill development with an approved amount of contact amongst players.  Whenever we can we will use weekends for further ice-time opportunities.  When it is approved locally to play with contact we will book weekend ice slots for Telluride vs Telluride games.  We have enough kids at each of our age levels to create a series of competitive games amongst ourselves.  

I see several other quality opportunities that the pandemic can bring about and I will continue to pursue them and keep you up-to-date.  

So far there have been no reports of positive cases in Colorado involving  hockey programs and rinks that are currently playing and have played throughout the summer.  We will be watching closely as other associations start their seasons.  We will be amongst the last clubs in the state to hit the ice and so I see our October 18th start date as a blessing this year as we will be able to learn from everyone else.  

I am currently working with Parks&Recreation staff to develop guidelines and strategies that we believe are best practices to keep the players safe.  No one is expected to play, but those who do choose to play will be expected to really make their health and the team’s health their number 1 priority.  

The rink opens October 18.  Registration, pricing, rink protocols will be finalized after the mid-September Parks&Recreation commission meeting.  

I am available to try answer any questions you may have.  



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