COVID testing now mandatory before hockey players can return to the ice

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It is expected that Roechester Arena could open up as soon late next week (Courtesy photo)

CONCORD - Anyone who plays, coaches or volunteers for any youth or college hockey team will have to be tested before they hit the ice.

Under the state's new guidelines handed down on Friday, they will have to show a doctor's note that they had tested negative within seven days of the date of play.

Under some circumstances, such as a residential hockey program, participants would also be tested on their first day at the facility and once every seven days once embedded at the facility.

Other parts of the guidance include daily sanitizing of hockey facilities, no sharing of water bottles or other equipment and no spitting.

A task force made up of hockey coaches, trainers, parents and players had urged the governor not to mandate the testing provision.

The new guidelines also ban teams from traveling outside of New England and orders teams from outside New England to quarantine for 14 days prior to playing here.

The facilities will also see strict guidance, such as no bar or restaurant areas and no food or drink except that is individually wrapped or prepackaged.

Meanwhile, teams are expected to hire a health clinician to monitor safe execution of the state's directives and a sort of COVID coach to make sure everyone on the team is practicing the guidance.

The new guidelines were prompted by a recent spike in virus cases associated with hockey.

The hope is to get everyone back on the ice early next month.

Meanwhile, the surge continues with DHHS officials announcing 120 new positive test results for COVID-19, including 14 under the age of 18, and eight from Strafford County.

No new hospitalized cases were reported for a current total of 15.

DHHS has also announced one additional COVID death, a Hillsborough County woman either 60 or over 60, according to DHHS.

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