Team sports in a pandemic

My adult hockey league is talking about restarting next week based on some new policies from our state (WA) that seem to allow it. No, I am not playing despite a lot of happy talk about how easy it will be to stay safe. I don’t believe the game can be played without getting somebody else’s exhalations all over me.

The number of players coming back surprised me (the league had over 1,000 players before the shutdown):
In the age 18+ division, about 80% of the players plan to return.
In the age 40+ division, about 70% of the players plan to return including a lot of mid-50’s players.

I’m curious if anybody (or their kids) has restarted team sports and if so, how has the social distancing looked?


I am not playing team sports, but my small gym has reopened to a maximum of 10 people. We generally stay 6 feet apart, and the entire time we are at the gym half are working out outside and half inside. There are a couple of large industrial fans encouraging the airflow to leave the gym. Each person has a disinfectant bottle and disinfects before equipment is put back or left, i.e. kettle bells, ergs, etc. Seems safe to me.

I can see hockey being somewhat better if you have a full face shield on your helmet, since I would imagine that would keep things away from you, also the airflow in the gym is probably pretty good. We have friends that travel to Idaho regularly to play baseball, and they said the distancing is fine. But baseball is an easier sport to control distancing than say hockey or football.

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I’ve tried the full face shields and unfortunately can’t keep them fog free. But they are recommended by the league and are getting more widespread.

Have skated a few practices which have worked out fine. It’s pretty easy to stay distant from others when everybody on the ice has the same mindset when doing drills.

One of the challenges I am trying to sort out is avoiding the bench area. Some of the rinks benches have adjacent walkways where I can escape the crowd, keep my Powerade, water and glucose gel in a ziplock bag,

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One of the things used when scuba diving is a mix of baby shampoo and water, sprayed on the inside of the mask and then rinsed out. (The reason baby shampoo is used is because it won’t irritate your eyes as much as normal shampoo.)

The other thing divers do is spit on the mask and rinse it with ocean water.

Or you might want to try some of the commercial anti-fog products they have for that.

The reason a lot of these things work is that the moisture inside the mask needs to attach to something. Shampoo or spit or any of the commercial products reduce the surface tension so it does not stick to the glass shield as much.


Hopefully the bench is full of people wearing masks like they do for baseball, however, not sure how long your bench time is between shifts. If all you are doing is heaving from the exertion, then a mask isn’t going to be comfortable. The hard part is even when we get a vaccine, we aren’t really going to know how well it works. So staying away from your hobby/exercise for a couple of years seems a high price to pay.


I think the only way to maintain distance or breathe clean air on the bench is to have my own mini bench about 10 feet away from the team bench. Masks will be near impossible on a hockey bench, with gloves and face shields needing to be removed to put covid masks on or off,’and masks off as players drink or get ready to jump on the ice, yelling to figure out who goes on next etc. It can get pretty chaotic.

My current plan is to drop in and watch a few games, see if I can get a comfort level with how the game play is changed if at all and then cajole the league into only scheduling my teams at the rinks with adequate space adjacent to the benches.

The good news is I outfitted my van as a mobile locker room so I can change in the parking lot before/after and keep all my sweaty gear out of the house afterwards.


Maybe you can just hack someone at the end of each shift and spend the next two minutes in the penalty box? It is an idea??


Worth a shot…




Just got this today…makes it pretty easy to stay away from the rinks for a while


Yep, that does make it pretty easy. Time for individual dry land training?

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I am in Spain and we are currently experiencing wave number 2. I started back at the gym in July, after it closing in March. Masks obligatory for walking around and taken off when exercising. Went back to my running club in September. We usually do a lot of strength and running technique in a warehouse, but now as much as possible done in the park we run in. All of the safety measures being followed in these two places, as far as I can see.
I am going to do a try of dragon boat racing next week and ma really looking forward to it. Depending on what it is like, I may or may not continue.