Winter sports — including ice hockey — resume Dec. 14
High school sports will continue with a truncated winter season after a strange fall season curtailed and limited in part by the pandemic.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, the governing body of high school athletics, announced that practice for winter sports will begin Dec. 14 with competition resuming after Jan. 1.
The sports include ice hockey, which had been an open question since Gov. Phil Murphy's statement on Monday saying that the youth version of the sport was "in our crosshairs." More than a hundred youth hockey players contracted the coronavirus after the sport resumed in October, although athletics officials said the cases were a result of off-the-ice activities.
Under rules released by the NJSIAA’s Sports Advisory Task Force, high school hockey may start practicing on Dec. 14; basketball, fencing and bowling may start practicing Jan. 11; swimming and winter track & field may start practicing Feb. 1. None of these sports will have an NJSIAA-sponsored post-season although leagues and conferences may hold their own local post-season competitions.
Gymnastics, girls’ volleyball and wrestling may start practicing March 1 with NJSIAA-sponsored post-seasons to be determined later.
The rules, while not explicitly, effectively eliminates spectators. Indoor practices and competitions are limited to 10 people unless more than 10 players, coaches and refs are needed for competition. Even with that exemption, participants may not exceed 25% of a facility's capacity or no more than 150 people regardless of capacity.
A spring season plan will be released no later than Dec. 11, the NJSIAA said.