Maryland Hockey Reopening Update: September 3rd

Despite hold a main camp with many players from around the country, there’s no certainty that the Maryland Black Bears will be given the go-ahead to start their season at home. Black Bear Sports and Entertainment group owner Murry Gunty has been very outspoken on Twitter about the Maryland state plan to reopen sports for youth teams, as well as the Anne Arundel County restriction for teams coming into Piney Orchard to play.

Twitter user The Hockey Scoop Facebook messaged AA County executive Steuart Pittman to ask about ice hockey being able to resume. Pittman or someone from his team replied with saying hockey can resume. However, Gunty mentioned that in deep digging that hockey and open, but no one from outside the Baltimore Metro area can come in to play games. Obviously, that would hinder the Black Bears, Team Maryland, and other teams who play out of Piney Orchard, outside of in-house teams. The Chesapeake Bay Hockey League has teams spanning throughout Maryland, Virginia, and the DC area. That’s something that would kill a lot of players development in the area if they are playing into a smaller circle of teams.

Another point of contention from Gunty has been the lack of hockey representation of hockey in the Maryland State Sports Commission’s return to play committee, pointing out that four of the six people on the board are lacrosse-centric. While lacrosse is the state team sport, the overreliance on the lacrosse heads in this return to play is a bit much. That said, open-air lacrosse is a different beast than indoor hockey, so I can understand why the commission will be a little more lenient on them. Same with flag football which has been considered medium risk, while hockey is still listed as a high risk. That said, the National Federation of High Schools deems hockey as a medium risk sport. However, the fact they have been allowed to hold tournaments with out-of-state competition does raise some eyebrows.

Through this all, Gunty is very steadfast that the Black Bears and Team Maryland will play with or without fans if they are legally allowed to by the county and/or state government. Should be interesting to see what happens, especially since the NAHL still hasn’t out out a schedule yet, as many teams still haven’t decided one way or another if they can play or not.

On the club hockey side, the University of Maryland men’s club team announced on Wednesday night that they are suspended their 2020-21 season with the hopes of starting up in the spring. The Terps cite university guidelines after communication with the university and club sports coordinators.

The DVCHC announced that they are suspending their operations until at least January 1st. This affects the University of Maryland and Loyola University women’s teams. While College Hockey East hasn’t made an announcement, you’d have to figure that they will follow the lead of the DVCHC, which would mean Navy’s women team would be affected.

As far as the other Navy teams, the ACHA has announced they will listen to the different conferences when it comes to their recommendations for a schedule modification. The trend seems to be the new year, which will mean the D1 Midshipmen will be on the same path. Meanwhile, the newly formed College Hockey Federation, which houses the D3 Midshipmen, will start after January 1st, 2021.

Stevenson University announced that the MAC has decided to suspended their fall sports in July, while also stating that winter sports won’t be schedule until after January 1st, 2021. This obviously means that men’s and women’s D3 NCAA won’t start until then, while there has been no notification from the club team, but you’d have to think they’d be in the same boat as the the other club teams and as their NCAA teams.

As far as high schools, goes, the MSHL has stated that no teams can practice until October 1st, local rules permitting. The MSHL also announced that the Eastern Conference wouldn’t play this season. Those schools include: Severna Park, Easton, South River, Broadneck, Spalding II, Dulaney, Chessie, Queen Anne’s County, Fallston, Annapolis, Kent Island, Bel Air, Arundel, and Saints.

The CBHL has been working with USA Hockey and the PVAHA in trying to reopen their league play. Of course, that bounces back to the original point of this post in that hockey is still considered a high-risk sport to the state commission, which hampers many CBHL teams from reopening as usual.

That’s where we stand in early September 2020. We’ll have updates as they happen, which we hopefully will find out sooner than later.

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