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The Mask Mandate

02/20/2021, 8:45pm CST
By Bryan Zollman

Most coaches disagree with mask requirement

Hockey players of all ages were finally allowed back on the ice after a six-week pause that lasted from Nov. 18 through Jan. 3. 

The return came with the stipulation that all players must wear a face covering while competing. The guideline, handed down by the Minnesota Department of Health on the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, calls for players to wear face coverings at all times while inside the arena, even when competing on the ice in practices and games. The mandate was not instituted by Minnesota Hockey or the Minnesota State High School league.

Many hockey parents have taken to social media to air their grievances about the mask mandate, citing health concerns about their children and pointing to the World Health Organization statement on their websites that states wearing a mask during strenuous activity is not recommended. According to the WHO: “Even when you’re in an area of COVID-19 transmission, masks should not be worn during vigorous physical activity because of the risk of reducing your breathing capacity. No matter how intensely you exercise, keep at least 1 metre away from others, and if you’re indoors, make sure there is adequate ventilation.”

The WHO also states on their website: “People should NOT wear masks when exercising, as masks may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably. Sweat can make the mask become wet more quickly which makes it difficult to breathe and promotes the growth of microorganisms. The important preventive measure during exercise is to maintain physical distance of at least one meter from others.”

As recently as August 6, the Minnesota Department of Health said on their Stay Safe MN plan that masks may be removed “when swimming or doing another activity where the face covering will get wet, and when participating in organized sports or physical exercise where you are breathing heavily and wearing a face covering would be difficult.”

Part of the newly adopted mask mandate says swimmers do not have to wear masks and neither do gymnasts, cheerleaders or wrestlers.

Which science is to be believed, and exactly whose science are we following? Are there potential side effects to wearing a mask while physically exerting oneself? If not, why would the World Health Organization and the Minnesota Department of Health have content on their websites saying as much? 

Let’s Play Hockey reached out to the Minnesota Department of Health and asked them about the science behind the mandate. 

The specific questions we asked are as follows:

LPH: People are always told to believe the science. What is the MDH’s science behind the decision to require masks for young kids while playing a physically exerting sport? If the WHO and CDC don’t recommend wearing a mask while exercising, why is the decision made for youth athletes to wear one while they are exercising? 

The MDH released a statement to LPH that stated: 

“We all share the same concern – that is, how to keep kids, coaches, and officials as safe as possible during practices and games. The Minnesota sports associations were involved in the decision to implement the mask policy.

“Some other states that have recently opened up youth sports again are requiring masks (such as Michigan and Massachusetts), and some of our associations reached out to their counterparts in those states, or to their national associations, to hear about their experiences thus far. There were no negative consequences related to requiring masks; coaches indicated the kids adapted really quickly.  It may take a little while for some kids to get used to masks while playing sports, and that is ok. If someone is having difficulty, we do provide guidance on what to do.  The youth sports associations are communicating to their teams and coaches to start practices slowly.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their recommendations in December to include masking while playing unless doing a sport where the mask could get tangled (gymnastics, cheer, wrestling) or wet (swimming). Because of this, it was important for us to re-evaluate our guidance. Our guidance is based on their guidance.https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-interim-guidance-return-to-sports/. The WHO recommendations were from May and we have learned a lot since then. CDC does not preclude wearing masks, they say it may be challenging to wear while playing, especially for younger children.

“Participating in sports is risky due to increased breathing, and in some sports, face-to-face contact. Playing indoors is riskier than outdoors due to the less than optimal ventilation to disperse respiratory droplets. There are documented outbreaks of respiratory viral illnesses occurring in sports teams in general, and specifically we’re seeing outbreaks of COVID-19 occurring in athletes.  Kids do get COVID-19, and while they may not be as likely to become severely ill, they can spread to older household members, or to their classmates, which then affects the ability for kids to have in-person learning.  Everything we do is interconnected.”

LPH Question: It was noted that wrestlers do not have to wear masks. Wouldn’t wrestlers being face to face and in constant contact for up to six minutes be more at risk of catching or spreading the virus than say two hockey players who are never face to face and constantly moving? And if it is a choking hazard for wrestlers, wouldn’t a mask over a required mouthguard be a choking hazard or considered hazardous in other ways for hockey players? 

MDH response: “Yes they’re at risk, but so are hockey players – we know that being face to face, having physical contact, and heavily breathing are risk factors for transmission.” 

Let’s Play Hockey sent an additional inquiry to the MDH for clarification on the second question. But we have not heard back. The MDH also states that a lot has been learned about the virus since May when The Who posted information about masks being unhealthy during physical exertion. But why would masks all of a sudden not pose a risk even if the virus became more prevalent? Or is the virus more of a concern than potential side effects from wearing a mask while participating in strenuous exercise?

Still, to date, there has not been a recorded death from COVID-19 in Minnesota for ages 5-19 (those being forced to mask up while they play their sport), according to data on the MDH website.

To get more answers in regards to the mask mandate we sent an e-mail to high school coaches throughout the state of Minnesota. More than 90 percent of respondents said they do not agree with the mask mandate. Most said they are dealing with it and focusing more on their game plans than on the mandate. At the end of this article we state the responses from coaches. We didn’t use their names or their schools in their responses. 

CCM has come out with a face covering that attaches to a player’s helmet. The reviews have been mixed. Some say it hinders their peripheral vision, which could be a safety hazard for higher levels of hockey where contact is imminent. Bauer has released a “bubble” with a splash guard that seems to be the least restrictive in terms of sight lines and not being pressed to the nose and mouth of the player. Keep in mind, mouthguards are still mandated in youth and high school hockey, so players not only have to wear a face covering they must also wear it over their mouthguard. Youth hockey rules state the mouth guard must be tethered to the helmet, but that cannot be accomplished with a face covering, therefore posing another risk of less kids wearing their mouth guards which protect against concussions, which are proven to have long-term effects.

​​​​​​We talked to several coaches about the mask mandate. We are sharing their thoughts, from both sides of the issue. It should be noted that Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Michigan have been playing with masks since November and have not reported any serious issues. We talked to one hockey official in Massachusetts who said the feelings on the mandate are mixed. Some don’t like it, but others feel it is a safe alternative to not playing at all.

Here is what coaches had to say:

One squirt hockey coach said the masks have been a difficult adjustment so far. And he worries about potential long-term effects from developing poor habits with a new CCM mask that attaches to a players helmet that he says cuts into a player’s vision on the ice.

“They all have complained about breathing at some point. The CCM game on mask stops the mask from falling but takes away too much of your peripheral vision and still is tough to breathe in. I have noticed with both teams that they are having a tough time with passes that are closer to their body due to the lost vision. Also a lot more heads down play which is what we are trying to teach them not to do so it is also creating bad habits that could be costly in the long run. This will be extremely dangerous on the boys side with the checking.”

He continued: “I would say it has not gone well so far and I am really hoping they change it soon especially since there is no data to support the decision to mask up during sports. There is actually more data that kids are not super spreaders and they need the outlet in a safe way.”

Most high school coaches who responded to an anonymous poll and answered questions about their experience with the masks did not agree with the mandate, but were doing everything they could to follow the mandate and make sure their kids could stay on the ice.

“I think it is ridiculous,” said one high school coach. “They are allowing wrestling to not wear them because they are a ‘choking hazard?’ I would think that would be the sport that would spread the easiest due to such close contact. Most people couldn’t walk up two flights of stairs without taking their mask off, we are expecting kids to practice 1.5-2 hours a day and play a game with them on at all times?”

The coach said masks are getting wet and sometimes freezing up, making it difficult for air to pass through.

“We have already had two of our 16 players have to sit out of some drills due to them being light headed and feeling like they are going to puke. I do not believe that this is due to them being out of shape, it is because they can not catch their breath due to the masks,” he said.

Another high school coach challenged policy makers to complete just one shift while wearing a mask.

“I do not agree with it,” the coach said. “It is not healthy for kids to wear a mask and play a high intensity sport like hockey.  Breath is life, it is the natural way we purify our bodies, it is not healthy to inhale your own exhale constantly. I hope there are no issues but it has not been easy for them.  I would like to see policy makers go out and exert one shift in a mask, let alone an entire practice or game.”

There are other concerns that come with wearing masks. One coach worries about mouthguard enforcement and the potential for an increase in concussions, which are proven to have detrimental long-term effects. 

“Obviously kids do not like them,” he said. “Here is what I have seen and know. Mouthguards will now rarely be worn. How are you going to enforce?  You will most likely see an uptick in concussions as a result. Also, when play begins after a face-off, the kids know how to get these masks below their nose.  They are not wearing them as meant to be worn. Also, it will be very difficult to tell if they are over the nose as hockey moves quickly at the high school level. I am not advocating for improper use of the masks, I am just saying it will happen.”

Other coaches have said there haven’t been any issues so far.

“I don’t have an opinion on the masks,” said one coach. “We have no choice if we want to play so we re going to get through it. I have not seen a credible source that can prove it will be highly risky for kids to wear masks. We have had two very hard skates and there is some discomfort for the players but also put into context many of them have been dormant, and I have not seen any reaction worse than the first few hard skates we have every year. Kids are out of shape.”

Another coach said he does agree with the mandate.

“We don’t know all the long term effects of COVID. I’ve seen some studies with college athletes who’ve contracted the virus and it looks like there can be long-term health consequences,” the coach said. “If wearing a mask helps protect one of my athletes from long-term effects or it saves one of their parents or grandparents from getting the virus it will be well worth it.”

The coach said he had one player complain about breathing issues, but concluded it was more of an issue of being out of shape. He also said his players with asthma have reported no issues thus far.

“Overall I see it as a net positive with health. Mentally being able to be back out on the ice with their friends, getting exercise but doing it in the healthiest way possible according to health experts.” 

Another coach said the mask issue is being blown out of proportion.

“To be honest I think that the mask stuff is getting way too much attention,” he said. “High school hockey players have waited for eight weeks to get back on the ice and now we want to complain about masks? I feel like people are just trying to find things to complain about.  I told my players that the masks are a small price to pay to get back on the ice and I don’t want to hear any complaining. I told them that if anyone is struggling to breathe or feels dizzy, they can take a break for a few minutes. The first practice, a few were saying the mask was a bit uncomfortable and restricted breathing a bit as well, but the second practice I think I heard one player comment about his mask.”

He added that it is a good teaching moment for players and kids in general.

“Be thankful for the good things and know that sometimes you have to sacrifice and accept some not so good things,” he said. “We’re in a worldwide pandemic and regardless of anyone’s position on masking, we have been allowed to play hockey again and we need to stop complaining and start being thankful.”

For Minnesota Hockey, they didn’t have much of a choice in agreeing with the mask mandate. If they wanted to return to the ice, masks were going to have to be worn by coaches and players at all times during games and practices. This was a non-negotiable term from the MDH and the Governor’s office. 

Minnesota Hockey’s goal is simple and hasn’t swayed: to get kids back on the ice and to keep them there for a full season.

 

Additional Coaches comments:

“It's gone fine. It's hard for them to communicate on the ice, which is something you work at getting them to do for years and years. For the most part it seems pointless and does more harm than good for these kids, but if it somehow let's those in power let the kids play, then we won't complain. Lots of kids fiddling with it and experimenting with it to find a way to play with it. 

To make kids take 6 weeks off, and then try and ramp up for a senior season and try to make them play with an obstruction seems not only pointless, but actually detrimental.”

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“No, I do not agree with it.

It is not healthy for kids to wear a mask and play a high intensity sport like hockey.  Breathe is life, it is the natural way we purify our bodies, it is not healthy to inhale your own exhale constantly.

I hope there are no issues but it has not been easy for them.  I would like to see policy makers go out and exert one shift in a mask, let alone an entire practice or game.”

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“I do not agree with the mask. Players are having trouble breathing, especially kids with asthma.  Players are also having their vision obstructed and distracted which is very dangerous. Goalies have pucks flying at their heads, it's not good.  Masks become wet and bacteria infected very quickly. Even as a coach I need to pull it down to breathe properly.”

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“The kids don't want to have to wear them, but all have been great about understanding that we need to wear them. Most of the comments back have been they are not as bad as I thought it would be.”

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“While I see the need for masks, I think that this mandate is going overboard.  Hockey players today wear clear shields which stops a great deal of the air particles. I know that these shields have air vents, but we ran a fall hockey league and we had only two players get exposed to the virus in two months.  Now in the Bridge League, the XPL, we had a great number of players test positive for the virus.  What we noticed is that most of the players seemed to have been exposed elsewhere and not at hockey.  We had the players wear their masks into and out of the rink and in the locker rooms.”

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No, I think it is ridiculous. They are allowing wrestling to not wear them because they are a "choking hazard"???? I would think that would be the sport that would spread the easiest due to such close contact. Most people couldn't walk up two flights of stairs without taking their mask off, we are expecting kids to practice 1.5-2 hours a day and play a game with them on at all times?

     I believe we do need to take measures to fight COVID but making athletes wear masks during competition is putting them at a higher risk than not wearing a mask. 

     Concerns are Kids being able to breathe, loss of peripheral vision, possibility of eyes getting covered and getting "lite up"

     Masks get wet from sweat or water and freeze - players can not breath through it

     We have already had 2 of our 16 players have to sit out of some drills due to them being light headed and feeling like they are going to puke. I do not believe that this is due to them being out of shape, it is because they can not catch their breath due to the masks. 

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Totally against mask mandate. Girls are struggling to breathe. Players throwing up despite not being skated overly hard.

Go back to summer guidance.

-----------------------------------------------------------------I feel mask is overkill

Concerns are ability to breathe and recover after exertion

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I don't have an opinion on the masks. We have no choice if we want to play so we re going to get through it. 

I have not seen a credible source that can prove it will be highly risky for kids to wear masks. 

We have had two very hard skates and there is some discomfort for the players but also put into context many of them have been dormant and I have not seen any reaction worse than the first few hard skates we have every year. Kids are out of shape. 

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 Emphatically NO!!  Kids safety and health.  No 1: The masks severely limit the players peripheral vision No 2: The kids can't breath when exerting themselves No.3: Concerns about bacteria and other contaminants being constantly inhaled as the kids try inhale 02 and exhale C02.

Concerns during the first day of practice with kids needing to take their mask off to catch their breath, get a drink, communicate etc.  Also extremely concerned if an injury occurs and a players head needs to be stabilized, how do you remove the mask quickly and safely so they can breath...

Do you agree with the mask mandate?

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No I do not -- however benches and heavy breathing might benefit from even partial mask wearing 

(Concerns are) Inconvenience mostly -- is it statistically relevant to slowing spread -- numbers say no. 

Have you seen or do you anticipate any issues with players health wise or in any other way?

No I do not, players have been great thus far, have adjusted and are building tolerance for airflow --- parents, not so much 

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Do you agree with the mask mandate?

I do.  We don't know all the long term effects of COVID I've seen some studies with college athletes who've contracted the virus and it looks like there can be long term health consequences.  If wearing a mask helps protect 1 of my athletes from long term effects or it saves one of their parents or grandparents from getting the virus it will be well worth it.

Have you seen or do you anticipate any issues with players health wise or in any other way?

I had one kid who after the first day of practice tell me they had a hard time breathing.  But we figured out they were just out of shape.  None of my kids with asthma have had any issues.  I talked to a Dr. who told me that cold air often induces asthma attacks so for many athletes wearing a mask actually warms up the air and could actually help with their breathing.

But overall I see it as a net positive with health. Mentally being able to be back out on the ice with their friends, getting exercise but doing it in the healthiest way possible according to health experts.  

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Do you agree with the mask mandate? I understand what they are trying to accomplish, but through two days of tryouts you can see how much of a hinderance it is on breathing and quality of play...

If not, what are your concerns? Concern is we are causing another issue trying to prevent one, as a coach, it is fairly uncomfortable with an unknown of what could happen, especially during game play with heightened adrenaline 

Have you seen or do you anticipate any issues with players health wise or in any other way? Too me it is all unknown, with the way kids are reacting to a up pace hour practice it seems that any kid could have something happen, it is a battle that these kids are facing and it is taking away from the enjoyment of playing for sure...

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The only good thing about the mask mandate is that the kids are happy to be back at the rink.  Otherwise, I have no idea how it is healthy for the kids whatsoever to be breathing in their own sweat.  It is sad that this is where we are in the world today.  Makes no sense, however, as I mentioned, if this is the only way we can play, it is what it is.

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 I do not agree with the mask mandate while playing or exertion. Concerns are as follows:

1.) During hockey, you breath hot air in a cold rink that creates higher amounts of condensation, which leads to a wet fabric over your mouth and nose. This during exertion type exercise such as hockey, can lead to respiratory acidosis that creates higher demands on the heart and lungs with players having underlying conditions not commonly picked up in a general health physical can be at high risk for fatal injury. 

2.) Risk of fainting while playing

3.) Visual loss in a contact sport, which could lead to spinal cord injuries. 

4.) Bacteria growth on the mask when athletes do not wash them after every use. This can lead to chronic respiratory infections. 

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ITS RIDICULOUS THEY ARE WEARING THEM ON THE ICE. END OF RANT.

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No I don't agree with the mask mandate.  The CDC says not to do strenuous activity while wearing a mask.  Put a wet towel on your face and try to breathe,  that is what we are asking players to do.  During the war it was called water boarding and was deemed illegal.  

We have had players who have headaches for hours after practice and I would anticipate that there will be some kids who collapse because they are playing with masks on.  

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100% NO. Kids do have difficulties breathing, I have had kids every session that had to sit down and remove mask because they are getting light headed.  It impedes vision putting kids in potential dagerous situations with body contact. I have had athletes quit because of asthma - parents don't want their kids to go through it. 

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I do (agree with the mask mandate) if it gives students the chance to play.

The Biggest issue is the consistency or lack thereof of wearing masks properly. Some teams are wearing masks properly, some are wearing over their masks, some are wearing under their nose, etc. 

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I do not agree with the mask mandate.

I am concerned about:

  • Restricted oxygen with higher heart rates.
  • Visual impairment.
  • Long term health complications.
  • Asking referee's/coaches to police this mandate.

After just minutes on the ice these masks are soaking wet making it even harder to breathe.

With all that said- the players are willing to do anything necessary to be able to play!

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To be honest I think that the mask stuff is getting way too much attention.  High school hockey players have waited for 8 weeks to get back on the ice and now we want to complain about masks?  I feel like people are just trying to find things to complain about.  I told my players that the masks are a small price to pay to get back on the ice and I don't want to hear any complaining.  I told them that if anyone is struggling to breathe or feels dizzy, they can take a break for a few minutes.  The first practice, a few were saying the mask was a bit uncomfortable and restricted breathing a bit as well, but the second practice I think I heard 1 player comment about his mask.

For me, this all comes back to what are we teaching our youth?  Do we teach them that if they don't get everything they want, they should argue, complain, refuse to play.... etc?  Life is filled with challenges and 9 times out of 10, you have to take the good with the bad.  Rarely do any of us get everything we want.  This is a great teaching moment for our youth.... be thankful for the good things and know that sometimes you have to sacrifice and accept some not so good things.  We're in a worldwide pandemic and regardless of anyone's position on masking, we have been allowed to play hockey again and we need to stop complaining and start being thankful.

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NO. My team uses the CCM in game masks.  about 7 have switched to the paper and cloth ones so far, which get wet in about 2 minutes.  The problems I have witnessed is collection of sweat, spit and snot in the mask and is very uncomfortable to the kids.  the next day kids complained of headaches after practice and throughout the night.  What I don't get is wrestling, gymnastics, and cheerleading don't need them for safety.  Why are those different?  a mask mandate is a mask mandate.   I hope this changes, but at this time, it is what i and we can' really fight any of it in this state.  

The Mayo clinic also suggested against it on their site but then changed their wording after the mask mandate came out. To me it is clear that masks are dangerous for athletes. Hockey is even more questionable. Athletes with helmets, mouth guards and then have to wear a mask. 

For my squirt team (please keep this not attributable to me) the masks are constantly falling down. I am not going to stop practice every two minutes to have them mask up. Plus they all have complained about breathing at some point. The CCM game on mask stops the mask from falling but takes away too much of your peripheral vision and still is tough to breathe in. I have noticed with both teams that they are having a tough time with passes that are closer to their body due to the lost vision. Also a lot more heads down play which is what we are trying to teach them not to do so it is also creating bad habits that could be costly in the long run. This will be extremely dangerous on the boys side with the checking. 

I would say it has not gone well so far and I am really hoping they change it soon especially since there is no data to support the decision to mask up during sports. There is actually more data that kids are not super spreaders and they need the outlet in a safe way. 

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I do not agree with the mask mandate. When the rinks re-opened in June of 2020, until they were shut down again in November, I was on the ice coaching and running programs on average of 4-5 days a week. In that time we experienced zero outbreaks of covid spread with our teams and training groups. There were a few cases that occured in which we followed our protocols to quarantine and isolate those who either had it or were in close contact with it. In doing so, it never once spread to another member on those teams or training groups. In my many conversations with other coaches in the state, this was the same experience for almost everyone I talked to. So I'm confused as to why we increased the mandates on hockey without just cause?

Since returning this week, my staff has had to jump in a few of the drills as the kids are quickly running out of breath. In doing so, my staff and I are shocked at how quickly we get winded from skating at less than 75%. We've experimented with several different breathing techniques while recovering with the mask on and have found it incredibly challenging to catch your breath without simply removing the mask for 10-20 seconds. 

Couple these concerns with the loss of peripheral vision and we may find ourselves with a solution that is causing more direct harm to the athletes on the ice. We have not allowed full contact yet as we understand the kids are learning to adjust to a new way of playing. But when our first game comes, it will be interesting to see how things shake out.

I love this game and work as a hockey coach full time. But this is wrong. I happily support anyone who feels the world is not safe and wants to stay home or choose alternative activities. However, for the rest of us, I would prefer we are allowed to make our own decisions regarding our personal health. A precedent is being set and my biggest concern is that this becomes normalized over time, thus allowing the mask to be another piece of equipment that is mandatory moving forward. I've asked a million times, "how does covid end?" and the best answer I've gotten is, "when the next virus starts." 

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No, the feedback from players has been it is overly restrictive for breathing & visibility regarding the CCM Mask & excessive fogging and breakage with the Bauer spit guard, 

Overall I think during active play the masks should be removed. The mitigation measures made in the summer were effective. We were able to operate our summer training program & players could participate in Minnesota hockey youth tournaments without the mask mandate effectively by reducing locker room times, maintaining social distancing, and recording attendance for contact tracing to promote safety.

I think with no longer having the mouthguards tethered to the cage creates other issues, whether choking on a mouthguard, or enforcement of its use due to players concealing under the mask. The blanket mandate also negatively impacts kids with asthma even further & are trading one health risk for another.

My hope is the restrictions can be returned to the same protocols we had in place this summer.

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Yes and no. 

Concerns I have are the kids are struggling to keep them over their faces. Once they get wet it is hard for them to stay in place. Yes they should be wearing them into the rinks and while they are getting their equipment on and off.

Issues I see are the kids are not getting the proper oxygen with the masks covering their faces in hard drills. I have actually had players get light headed and needing to sit on the benches to get fresh air. I believe this will be an issue with games. I know they have done studies showing that it is not healthy for people to wear them when exercising for more than 30 minutes. They are not gaining proper oxygen and are breathing in CO2.

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I do not agree with the mask mandate.  I am a 100% against the players wearing them while they play.

I'm very concerned that we are creating many more health issues for our athletes by making them wear masks.  I understand that Covid is an issue but it hasn't been with high school age kids.  Thousands of youth & high school players played hockey all summer and fall without masks and Covid was never an issue.

In just two days of practice, I have seen kids have trouble breathing because of the masks.  We haven't had any serious medical situations yet but I'm worried it is just a matter of time.

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Here's my thought –there are people who have spent their lives studying and preparing for a pandemic and they have to offer advice to those who are in a position to make decisions.  Because I'm not an expert and I'm not a decision-maker, we've decided to focus on the things that we can control.  It was really fun to see the kids on Monday despite it being completely different.

As an educator, the mental health of students is always a concern although I don't think the masks are a major contributor to this as much as the pandemic has been as a whole.

Kids seemed to get winded but we really had few complaints.  The pandemic sucks for everyone in every way so getting the opportunity to play is a positive and that's what we've chosen to focus on.  

As a whole, this has been a tough time for us.  We're a small town that doesn't fit the mold of a 21st century hockey community as our poverty rate is over 40%.  We've lost returning players who have chosen to work full time with tight budgets at home and are able to because of a flexible school schedule, and we've lost kids who have parents working in hospitals.  We're battling to put 2 teams on the ice.  I know this isn't the case in every program nor is our situation unique I'd guess.  It is what it is but we're taking it a day at a time and trying to give our kids an opportunity and a positive experience.

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No, I do not. Concerns are overall safety of the player, including limited vision when battling for puck in tight spaces especially in and around feet.  Had several kids express that they can't breathe very well.  When mask gets wet lowers on the face, and constant distraction, and is even harder to breathe.

Hockey is not a sport where the mask should be mandated.  If the pros, college players etc. play without them, why do high school kids need to.  They are not in the group that is considered high risk group.  I totally anticipate some type of  respiratory issue going forward with this mask mandate.

-----------------------------------------------------------------No, the age group and health of our athletes puts them at a fraction of a percent of the world when considering risk. Also, if wearing the mask is not going to eliminate the need for team-wide quarantines then there truly is no incentive to do so within the guidelines.  

(Kids) are smart, they start their shift with it on their nose, step into a drill and one hard breath and good yell asking for the puck and the mask is below their nose. 

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Obviously kids do not like them.  Here is what I have seen and know.  Mouthguards will now rarely be worn.  How are you going to enforce?  You will most likely see an uptick in concussions as a result.  Also, when play begins after a face-off the kids know how to get these masks below their nose.  They are not wearing them as meant to be worn.  Also it will be very difficult to tell if the are over the nose as hockey moves quickly at the high school level.

I am not advocating for improper use of the masks, I am just saying it will happen.

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No I dont agree with this mandate.

Concerns are breathing issues, vision impairment issues.  Kinds not enjoying the sport because of all these mandates, and us losing kids.  

We have skated the last 2 days, and yes I have seen some issues.  Now some of the players are not in great shape cause we were shut down for 7 weeks, but 2 players yesterday complained of dizziness, and headaches during practice.  

Goalies have a hard time with the mask riding up covering their vision, kind of important for a goalie.  

Masks get extremely wet, warm breath and cold air from the rink do not make a good combination, the masks get really wet and to be honest really gross.  

 

No, I agree with masks on the bench and locker rooms, but feel it is not safe on the ice.

If not, what are your concerns?

Breathing and vision

Have you seen or do you anticipate any issues with players health wise or in any other way?

Well, not at games, but at practices we don't have trainers and officials, so it could be a bigger issue for the coaches.

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Simply put, I don't agree on any level. The incongruity of this mandate, as well as many others set forth by our governing bodies is preposterous. The lack of uniformity between the MSHSL, USA Hockey and Minnesota Hockey is comical. And beyond that, the lack of uniformity across state borders, provides the perception of our decision makers that they are even less competent for these mandates. Moreover, I'm tired of the response "we just need to do this to get the kids back on the ice, or it could be worse..." Frankly, that's the wrong answer. No we don't. We need folks to speak up and put our kids on the top of the priority list. Because these "mandates" are not made in the kids' best interest. These decisions are killing high school and community based hockey. Its incredibly unfortunate. It's pretty apparent that our leadership is drastically lacking and the feedback from the coaches is trivial in any decisions that are made.

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  • 04/19/2018, 11:00am CDT , By Bryan Zollman, Let's Play Hockey
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  • 03/12/2018, 10:45am CDT , By Josh Levine
  • Minnesota’s community-based model is one of the primary reasons it’s truly the State of Hockey.
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  • 04/25/2021, 8:00am CDT , By Josh Levine
  • Josh Levine, who served as Mike Ryan's assistant, reflects on the life of a coach, mentor and friend
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Tag(s): State Of Hockey