Coronavirus: Spitting to be penalized under Hockey Manitoba’s updated return-to-play plan

Everyone is adjusting to the new normal during the coronavirus pandemic, and hockey players are no different.

Hockey Manitoba released an updated version of their return-to-play plan on Monday, less than 72 hours from Thursday’s start to phase three.

Phase three of the plan, involving regular season competition, begins on Thursday for some leagues in certain regions, and the rules will look very different.

Spitting is usually pretty commonplace at the rink, but not during a pandemic. One of the many rule changes bans spitting and spitting water.

After a team gets two warnings for spitting, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty will be assessed.

Read more: Hockey Manitoba ready to return to play, with COVID-19 safety top of mind

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Face masks are now mandatory for everyone in the arena, but players and officials are not required to wear a mask while on the ice.

No handshakes or fist bumps are allowed before or after the game, either, and all participants will be advised to avoid any physical contact, including goal celebrations.

A player receiving a 10-minute penalty will not serve it in the penalty box. Instead, it will be served either in the dressing room or at the players’ gate.

Referees have also been encouraged to blow the whistle early to prevent scrums and altercations.

All players under the age of nine are encouraged to come fully dressed.

Read more: Competitive amateur hockey in Manitoba to return in October

The complete details of version two of their return-to-play plan can be found here.

While some leagues and regions have been approved to advance to phase three, many still have not.

Starting on Thursday, a list of approved regions, leagues and schools will be posted on the Hockey Manitoba website.

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