WINNIPEG -- Hockey Manitoba is one step closer to seeing games on the ice as it announced the third phase of its Return to Play plan.

The plan is set to take effect on Oct. 1 and features rules that teams and players must follow while playing.


Once actual games resume in the province, Hockey Manitoba is recommending that players reduce time around others as much as possible.

It says officials can play a big role in limiting interactions by blowing the whistle quickly if the puck is not moving and several players are involved and also potentially stopping the play earlier to prevent potential scrums.

"Once the whistle is blown to stop play, players are expected to immediately leave the area and physically distance on the ice where possible," Hockey Manitoba said in its release.

Referees can also give penalties to those who start scrums rather than give verbal warnings.

Players will also have to get used to not spitting while they are playing, this includes spitting out water they are drinking.

Hockey Manitoba said if a ref sees this happening, they can advise the coach so that it doesn't happen again.

If a team is warned twice and it happens a third time, officials can hand out an unsportsmanlike penalty.

If it still continues, a player will receive a misconduct penalty and they will be reported to the league.

Peter Woods, the executive director of Hockey Manitoba, said the spitting rule is something teams will have to work at.

"We recognize that's part of the sport and that's something that all of our members need to be conscious of to eliminate that," said Woods.

Physical distancing is being encouraged as much as possible and it's recommended that players and officials space out on face-offs. Handshakes are also not permitted between coaches, referees, and other opposing teams.

Instead of lining up at the end of a game for handshakes, Hockey Manitoba suggests teams stand on the blue line and raise their sticks.

When on the bench, each team should have hand sanitizer available and the same person should be opening gates with gloves on.

Towels and water bottles are not to be shared and bottles should be labelled for each player and they should be filled at home.

Benches and the penalty box should also be sanitized after each game by facility staff.

Woods said there have been a lot of changes to the game with the new rules.

"I don't think anyone expects us to return to normal," he said. "There is going to be some adjustments. Our way of life has certainly been adjusted outside of sports.

"Sports plays a significant importance in everyone's life, certainly for mental health and physical health. So that's important and we wanted to make sure we got that right. Safety is one issue that we're not prepared to compromise on."


Before games start, all staff, players, officials, parents, and spectators are being told it is mandatory to wear masks.

Players will not have to wear masks when they are playing.

It is also being recommended that players show up fully dressed, minus their gloves, skates, and helmets.

Teams are also advised not to show up any earlier than 30 minutes before a game and leave 20 minutes afterward.

If teams show up on a bus, they must be wearing masks and there is only one person per two seats allowed unless they are from the same household.

Carpooling is also not being recommended if possible.

If players do carpool, only two players are allowed per car and they are being advised to sit in different rows and sides of the vehicle, and if they are carpooling with one person it is suggested they don't carpool with anyone else.


If any person on the team shows any symptoms of COVID-19, they are supposed to tell the head coach, and then that person will be told to isolate.

While isolating, Hockey Manitoba says the person must contact health officials to see if a test is required and if it is, they must remain in isolation until they receive a negative test.

If their test comes back negative but they still have symptoms, they are told to continue to isolate until they have no symptoms for 24 hours.

If someone on the team tests positive for COVID-19, Public Health will keep them informed on when they can return to play. Hockey Manitoba also says that after isolating for 10 days, a player can return once they have no symptoms for 24 hours.


Travelling is required for most teams to play throughout the season and Hockey Manitoba said travelling inside the province is allowed.

Teams wishing to travel outside of Manitoba must first fill out a travel permit, which won't be accepted until Oct.15.

For teams that are coming to Manitoba, they must self-isolate for 14 days if they are not from western Canada or northwestern Ontario.

Travel outside of Canada will not be allowed.