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COVID-19 & 2020/2021 Season Status

Hello SWHC Community:

We write on this occasion to share with you additional information regarding the Seattle Women Hockey Club’s decision to postpone the 2020-21 fall season.  We thoroughly understand and deeply value what sports mean to our members, their families, and our coaches.  The vote by the SWHC Board was overwhelmingly in support of postponing the hockey season until at least January 1st, 2021. The decision was thorough and deliberative, and based on sound feedback, guidance and advice from medical experts.  Despite the decision to postpone hockey, we continue our work to find a path forward that creates a healthy and safe environment for all members to compete in the sport they love in a manner that helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protects both members and the surrounding communities.

As you are well aware, we are facing a complicated global pandemic with the SARS-CoV-2 virus discovered in November 2019.  The first medically confirmed cases did not appear in the United States until January 2020.  Over the course of the past seven months, the U.S. has recorded more than 5.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 resulting in more than 170,000 deaths, with more than 22 million confirmed cases and 780,000 lives lost around the world.

While several factors contributed to the decision to postpone the 2020-21 hockey season, at the core of our decision was the knowledge that there was too much medical uncertainty and too many unknown health risks regarding SARS-CoV-2 infection and its impact on our players.

Listed below are the primary factors that led to the SWHC Board decision:

  • Transmission rates continue to rise at an alarming rate with little indication from medical experts that our players, communities or country could gain control of the spread of the virus prior to the start of competition.
  • There is simply too much we do not know about the virus, recovery from infection, and longer-term effects.  While the data on cardiomyopathy is preliminary and incomplete, the uncertain risk was unacceptable at this time.
  • Concerns surrounding contact tracing still exist, including the inability to social distance in contact sports pursuant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. While risk mitigation processes (e.g., physical distancing, face coverings, proper hygiene, etc.) can be implemented across practices and games, it became clear those processes could not be fully implemented in contact sports.
    • Accurate and widely available rapid testing may help mitigate those concerns, but access to accurate tests is currently limited.

Moving forward, we will continue to build upon the framework that medical experts have developed over the past five months while we take the opportunity to learn more about the virus and its effects.  As we expand upon a plan to allow our players to compete as soon as it is safe to do so, we will keep our focus on creating protocols and standards set forth and established by medical advisors that are responsive to the medical concerns evaluated by the CDC and the Board.

In evaluating winter/spring models, we will explore many factors including events that can reasonably be played from a health perspective in 2021.  The SWHC Board will continue to collect feedback from players, families, and coaches regarding all future plans.  We have tremendous appreciation and understanding regarding what participation in sports means to our players, their families, and our coaches. We will continue to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our players. 

- SWHC Board