Return to Hockey 2020-21


Hockey is back! And we have a plan!

Check out this link for the full Hockey Calgary Return to Hockey Document.

In our current environment, this is not a typical hockey season, and it will look different.

Hockey Calgary has developed a Return to Play plan (link above). The plan that will ensure our athletes continue to grow both on and off the ice.

4 phases

There are 4 Phases in Hockey Calgary’s Return to Play:

  • Prep Phase
  • Sorting/Evaluation Phase
  • Development Season Phase
  • Regular Season / Competitive Season Phase


Prep Phase – focus is on development and conditioning in preparation for the upcoming
season, this phase will take place in August. The current Bow River Summer Goalie Camps, Players Camps and Eval Prep Camps are all in line with this Prep Phase.

Sorting/Evaluation Phase– This phase will take place in September and will be for the sole
purpose of creating like skilled ‘Cohort Groups’ of less than 50 players. This process will
be done through ‘Physically Distanced’ skill-based evaluations.

Development Season Phase – Once players are sorted into ‘Cohorts’ they will now be able
to practice and compete in ‘Mini Games’ with the other members of this Cohort. Players
will not be permitted to play against teams or players outside of their cohort until
government restrictions are lifted. This phase will begin when cohorts are formed in late September / early October.

Regular Season/Competition Season Phase – This is the final phase of our plan, and
basically has 2 options, if all restrictions are lifted we will return to the ‘traditional’ Hockey
Calgary program. If the restrictions are not removed, then following the winter holiday
break (14-day isolation) Hockey Calgary will look at revising the cohorts and developing
some inter-association play.


Parents and players also play key roles in the Return to Hockey.

Their responsibilities include:

  • Stay at home if experiencing any symptoms.
  • Become educated on the safety protocols and procedures prior to attending session and adhere to them while at the session.
  • Ensure each player has his/her own water bottle which is sanitized prior to each session, and his/her own hand sanitizer for use while on the ice.
  • Ensure equipment is dried, cleaned and/or sanitized following each session.
  • Arrange appropriate transportation to and from the session.
  • Refrain from cheering and yelling as it presents a high risk of spreading droplets.
  • Do not spit, blow nose freely or release any bodily fluid anywhere in any facility due to an extremely high risk of virus transfer.



All Member Associations MUST track all participants and interactions, maintaining records in a secure location for 30 days from completion of activity.

What happens if I answer ‘YES’?

  • Any participant who answers YES to any of the questions must NOT attend or participate in the program and may not return until after a minimum 14-day quarantine from the activity.

Members and sanctioned partners are to report any COVID-19 cases as required by Alberta Health Services, Member, hockey association, league and facility. Hockey Calgary must be notified immediately after Alberta Health has been notified.

The ‘Development Season’ will see Association-based play.

For each age category, associations create similar sized Cohorts of no more than 50 players based on rankings from the physically distanced sorting/evaluation sessions. These Cohorts will now be locked for the either the entirety of the Alberta Phase 2 relaunch, or until the new year where Hockey Calgary will have the opportunity after the 2-week winter holidays to create new cohorts

Associations will create 4 evenly balanced ‘Mini Teams’ of 9-12 players (with goalies) within each cohort.

  • Associations have the ability to rebalance ‘Mini Teams’ if they are not competitive.
  • Benefits of the Model
  • Groups players into similar skill abilities
  • Opportunity for players to develop
  • Facilitates some game competition
  • ‘Mini Teams’ size means more ice time for players
  • ‘Mini Teams’ size helps with dressing room utilization & bench spacing when games are played
  • Ease of scheduling within the association
  • Reduced travel
  • Players are playing with and against their peer group (friends)
  • Association cohorts are likely more in line with community and school programs, therefore confining the spread
  • If an outbreak occurs it is easier to shut down a cohort in 1 association, or a full association as opposed to shutting down the entire program

What does it mean to be a U7 player?

•Maintain JR and SR age groups
•Maintain Cross-Ice Games
•Game play will be 4v4 or 3v3 if short handed
•No officials
•Cohorts are 34-40
•Coaches are part of U7 cohort
•Create balanced cohort teams

During the Development Phase, the cohort can only play informal mini games during practice.

Looking for more specific information for the U7 Timbits season?  click here


What does it mean to be a U9 player?

  • Maintain ½ Ice Game
  • 4 Tiers
  • Game play will be 4v4 or 3v3 if short handed
  • Cohorts are 30 - 40
  • Coaches are part of U9 cohort
  • Create balanced ‘mini teams’ of 9-10 players (no goalies)
  • 3 or 4 ‘mini teams’ per cohort

What does it mean to be a U11 or U13 player?

  • Maintain full-ice games
  • Game play will be 5v5, 4v4 or 3v3 during the ‘Development Season Phase’. Opportunity to try new formats and have different themes
  • Cohorts are 36-48
  • Coaches are NOT part of the cohort
  • Within each Cohort create balanced ‘Mini Team’ of 9-12 players (with goalies)
  • 3 or 4 ‘mini-teams’ per cohort (may depend on total cohort size)

What does it mean to be a U15 or U18 player?

  • Maintaining full-ice games
  • Game play will be 5v5, 4v4 or 3v3 during the ‘Development Season Phase’. Opportunity to try new formats and have different themes
  • Cohorts are 36-48
  • Coaches are NOT part of the cohort
  • Within each Cohort create balanced ‘Mini Team’ of 9-12 players (with goalies)
  • 3 or 4 ‘mini-teams’ per cohort (may depend on total cohort size)

There will be both body checking and non-body checking cohorts.




Question: The Association based cohort model sounds a lot like House League. Why are the fees for community hockey similar to past seasons and not closer to House League fees?

Answer: From a cost standpoint, the main difference between Community Hockey and House League is the amount of ice sessions players receive for their registration. Community Hockey teams receive significantly more ice times compared to House League.


Looking for more information on the North West House League? Click here

Given this is “not a typical hockey season” many parents have asked why play for Bow River Bruins?

There are many great answers to this question – in particular the community spirit and pride that comes along with being a Bruin!  If that is not enough, consider the following:

  • We are continuously working to secure additional ice and practice time for all of our teams, while consciously ensuring we are limiting travel time to the best of our abilities.
  • U7 players will have access to Power Skating and Skills sessions in addition to their regularly scheduled practices.
  • Our U9, U11 and U13 players will have the opportunity to sign-up for our subsidized Bow River Friday Night Hockey Academy.
  • Our U13, U15 and U18 player will all be participating in dryland with Dash Training at their hockey-specific training facility.
  • Our U9 and U11 players will be participating in a newly updated dryland series at the Viperdome.
  • Our goalies will have access to subsidized Wednesday Night Goalie Training throughout the hockey season.
  • We have recently launched our Summer Edition of the Friday Night Hockey Academy program, the Summer Goalie Prep Camps and our ever-popular Evaluation Prep Camps.
  • Bow River invests in coaching education, reimbursing all of our coaches for their Hockey Alberta coaching clinics, offering in-hockey Hockey Alberta instructional stream coaching clinics and providing season-long coach mentorship
  • We are also the only Association in the Province to have offered a Coach 1 clinic to our U15 and U18 players
  • This past season saw the launch of the Bow River Boost Program – a community initiative brought about by two of our own Bruin players, to foster “athletes helping the community”.
  • We also raised Bow River awareness and community pride at our year end Bow River Bash.  This fabulous event recognized the dedication and achievements of many of our Bruins members.

As we embark upon this not so typical hockey season, please do know that Bow River is actively working to ensure the best for our kids and we are committed to providing our players with the Bow River Advantage.

Go Bruins Go!



"One Sport Cohort" - What does that mean?

One of the new terms we are working with is a ‘Sport Cohort’.  Our AHS guidelines tell us that “an individual is only to be part of one Sport Cohort at any time.”  So, what exactly does this mean…?

It means that if you are part of a hockey cohort, you cannot then go and be part of a football, soccer or other sport cohort.

  • You can be part of one sport cohort and then be physically distanced for another sport.  This will allow you to participate in Bow River Hockey and still attend extracurricular sporting activities, such as physically distanced power skating or skills-based training.   Provided these activities follow physical distancing rules.
  • For our groups where the coach is part of the actual cohort, these coaches must remember they can only participate in one sport cohort.  This means you can coach within the cohort but you cannot participate in another sport cohort (i.e. beer league hockey).
  • Coaches can be part of the actual cohort and also coach another group, provided you are a physically distanced coach.

At the start of our evaluation season, all players will be evaluated in a physically distanced manner.  We are working with Hockey Calgary to have all of our evaluation drills and procedures approved and vetted to ensure we are doing our best to meet all physically distanced rules.  We appreciate your patience as we get this in place.

There is a difference between sport and academic cohorts.  You can still be part of your school cohort and a hockey cohort.  Going to school does not preclude you from participating in a hockey cohort.

We all need to remember, this is not a normal season!  We need to work together to ensure we are meeting all rules and regulations.  At this point in time, that means only one sport cohort!  Please consider the health and safety of everyone around you.  The continuity and longevity of hockey this season requires it.  The Bow River Bruins Hockey Association will be following all rules and guidelines.  We will be running our program with integrity and expect all Members to do the same.

"Physically Distanced Coach" - What does that mean?

Under our new guidelines, coaches will form part of the cohort for all U7 and U9 groups.  This means Coaches + Players must be less than 50 individuals.

If you are coaching in the U7 or U9 group, this is considered your Sport Cohort.  As outlined in our previous post, AHS has deemed that “an individual is only to be part of one Sport Cohort at any time”.

At the U11 and above age groups, coaches are – for the most part – physically distanced coaches.  This means they are not considered to be part of the Sport Cohort.  They must maintain physical distancing and wear a mask.  There may be situations in which a U11 or above coach would be part of the Sport Cohort.  Hockey Alberta and Hockey Calgary continue to work on clarifying this role and we will share this information as it comes available.

Some common questions we have received include:

  • Q: Can I coach U7 and U9?
  • A: No.  You may only form part of one Sport Cohort.  As both the U7 and U9 age categories require their coaches to form part of the Sport Cohort, you may only coach in one or the other.


  • Q: Can I coach U7/U9 and U11 (or above)?
  • A: Yes.  You can be part of the Sport Cohort in the U7/U9 category and also be a physically distanced coach in the U11 or above category.


  • Q: Can I coach and play beer league hockey?
  • A: The answer depends.  If you are a coach for U7/U9 then that is your Sport Cohort and you cannot also play in your beer league.  If you are a socially distanced coach for U11 or above, then yes you could play in your beer league.


  • Q: Will there be Hockey Alberta coaching certification clinics offered this year?
  • A: We are waiting on final word from Hockey Alberta on how the will offer these clinics.  At this time, we fully anticipate clinics being offered – in some capacity – to ensure all of our coaches are fully certified.  In addition, Bow River will continue to offer in-house coaching clinics for all of our Bow River coaches.

Are you interested in signing up to coach for Bow River?  Awesome!  Head on over to our Coach's Corner (under the Resources tab) on our Website

Coaching applications need to be completed by September 2nd


Bow River Bruins Hockey Association

PO BOX 27048 RPO Tuscany SDM

Calgary, Alberta T3L 2Y1