ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The pandemic shut down the high school hockey season right before the state tournament wrapped up last year and it hasn’t started back up yet.
“I look forward to going to the rink every day and so do all my teammates,” said Penfield senior Sam Schlifke. “It’s just been really tough not having that.”
Hockey is currently deemed a high-risk sport by the New York State Department of Health. Only low and moderate-risk winter sports like bowling and skiing are currently being played right now.
Section V hockey boosters have hired a lobbyist to argue their case to Albany.
“Give them research, give them evidence so that they can make comfortable decisions to demonstrate that hockey actually is a low-risk sport and the kids can play safely,” said Penfield hockey booster Karl Schlifke.
Part of the argument includes the fact that the air filtration systems that hockey rinks use to filter out the exhaust fumes from the Zambonis are similar to those that allowed to gyms to reopen this summer in New York state. For example, the Webster Hockey Arena’s system has a MERV 13 filtration rating that is required by gyms to be open in the state.
Also, a Finnish Analytics study has shown that hockey players would only be within 6 feet of other players for only 3 to 4 minutes during a 51-minute game, the length of Section V games.
Local hockey players have been able to practice with their travel teams in the state. They say they’ve been very careful to follow all precautions.
“We just need to be on the ice together,” says Victor senior Cal Lambert. “We can social distance on the bench, wear a mask on the ice if we need to, and follow all the rules to actually have a season.”
News 8 reached out to the state department of health, but we did not receive a response for this story.
The main hope of parents and players alike, get a season back to restore some sense of normalcy to the players’ lives.
“It’s not the same as it was even last year,” says Webster Thomas senior Cade Spencer. “Everyone is kind of not as upbeat as they were before because there’s nothing to look forward to now.”
Section V hockey boosters hope to get their argument in front of the state within the next week.