On January 25, 2020, the Government of Ontario reported the first case of 2019-nCoV (coronavirus) in Canada. Canada's chief public health officer is in ongoing contact with provincial and territorial chief medical officers of health to ensure any cases of 2019-nCoV occurring in Canada continue to be rapidly identified and managed in order to protect the health of Canadians. Hockey Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Mark Aubry, is in contact with the IIHF Medical Committee.
The Public Health Agency of Canada currently assesses the public health risk associated with 2019-nCoV as low for Canada and for Canadian travellers. Public health risk is continually assessed as new information becomes available. Updates on nCoV can be found at:
This situation serves as a reminder that the health and safety of participants is a priority, and prevention in the hockey environment should be considered by those around the game.
The following are recommendations that should be considered at all times during hockey programming:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Make soap and/or hand sanitizer available in dressing rooms and hotels.
- Avoid contact with sick people, including avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
- Gloves should be worn by staff handling towels or laundry in the team environment.
- Towels should not be shared on the team bench. Players should not share clothing, bar soap or other personal items such as razors.
- The Hockey Canada Safety Program recommends the following protocol as it relates to the use of water bottles:
- Good team hygiene includes ensuring all players and staff have their own water bottles to prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria.
- Bottles should be labelled and washed after each practice or game.
- It is further recommended that officials avoid the practice of drinking from the goaltender’s water bottle. If officials require water during a game, we suggest they have their own water bottle at the penalty bench.
- There should not be sharing of water bottles in the penalty box, as well as no sharing of towels.
- Avoid raw or undercooked animal products if having team meals, or if eating while travelling to events/tournaments.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, wash hands).
- Advise players to try and not touch their own mouths or nose when in the hockey environment to reduce the chance of them passing an infection on to themselves.
- Monitor illness and injury in all teams. Parents are urged to keep their children away from the hockey environment if they are showing any signs of infectious disease or virus.
- Team members should be encouraged to self-report if they feel ill.
- Fist bump with hockey gloves on, instead of shaking hands.
- Monitor travel restrictions on the Government of Canada Travel Advisory website, which can be found at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.
Good hygienic practices will help to maintain a healthy team atmosphere and ultimately assist in keeping all participants healthy throughout the season.
If any questions please contact Todd Jackson, Director of Insurance and Risk Management, Hockey Canada.
Dr. Mark Aubry Todd Jackson
Chief Medical Officer Director, Insurance and Risk Management
Hockey Canada Hockey Canada