AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — The chants of “let us play,” echoed down Maple Road on Sunday.
“I want to get out on the ice with my team and just have some fun,” said eight-year-old Liam McGuire, of Amherst.
Dozens of ice hockey players and parents were rallying to play a game on the ice, once again.
Sarah McGuire, of Amherst, organized the event.
“We want to feel that our youth sports matter, and right now, we don’t feel that way. We feel like youth sports have been pushed to the sidelines.”
Under the state’s COVID-19 guidelines, ice hockey players can practice. The problem is the state isn’t allowing the athletes to play a game or participate in a scrimmage.
“Practice is good. It’s great. But, they want to be able to play the sport the way that it was meant to be played,” said West Seneca hockey mom, Brandy Mroz. “Kids who are in high school, they look for this for scholarships, and colleges. This is how they get noticed. They get noticed at games,” added McGuire.
Last week, about a half dozen republican senators wrote the governor, urging the state to allow ice hockey games to resume. They argue ice hockey is a low contact sport, where players wear plenty of protective gear and play in well ventilated areas. “You tell me the difference between a practice and a game. I don’t think there is one,” said Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt who attended Sunday’s rally.
The county addressed its concerns with allowing ice hockey games during a COVID-19 update on December 21.
“It’s concerning because you have coaches coaching multiple teams and players playing on multiple teams,” said Erie County Executive, Mark Poloncarz.
It’s just good for them to be out there playing with their friends a sport that they love,” added Mroz.