AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — When the 2021 high school hockey season begins next week, it will have been nearly 11 months since the last time those teams laced up. After updated guidance came down in late January, everyone involved kicked into high gear, including local venues.
"It's great to see the kids back in the facility and happy about playing again," Northtown Center general manager Eric Guzdek said. "We immediately started getting phone calls for people to book games."
Boys' hockey starts on the 8th, while girls' hockey starts Thursday the 11th. But tryouts and practices have been popping up all over the area. It's allowed the rinks to get up to speed with more ice time being booked.
"With the games being played, there's going to be more people in the building," Holiday Twin Rinks owner Mark Grundtisch said. "We have to up our maintenance schedule, and we're going to use locker rooms."
Those locker rooms will wind up being shared, whether it's on the same day or over the course of the month-and-a-half-long season, by nearly three dozen teams. But venues had been prepared for that long before the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We've had significant cleaning and disinfecting procedures back from day one," Guzdek said. "We're going to take more precaution and spray [common areas] with a disinfectant so we can mitigate the risk."
Per Section VI and Monsignor Martin policies, there won't be any spectators at high school games for the time being. The high-risk winter season will end by March 27th.