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By AHAI, 02/22/21, 9:15AM CST


AHAI is preparing for the return of sanctioned games after the Illinois Department of Public Health updated its sports safety guidance in light of the state’s improving COVID-19 metrics. Under IDPH’s revised guidance, five of Illinois’ 11 regions, covering large portions of the state are currently in Phase 4. AHAI is anticipating that the five (5) regions, currently in Tier 1 Mitigation, are on the cusp of being able to play when they achieve Phase 4 status. Those regions include Chicago and the collar counties.

AHAI remains bound by USA Hockey to follow state and local health guidelines, and the health and safety of players and all participants remains the top priority. The revised IDPH sports safety guidelines may be found here. Ice hockey continues to be categorized as a high-risk sport.

“With positive changes occurring daily, we are consulting with IDPH with an eye toward beginning sanctioned play in February. We are both optimistic and excited about our teams and players resuming competitive games,” said AHAI President Kevin Bolger.

The table below shows the activity that is permitted for high-risk sports in different mitigation tiers under the revised IDPH guidance:

The table below shows the activity that is permitted for high-risk sports in different mitigation tiers under the revised IDPH guidance: 


What does AHAI consider a “sanctioned game” under the USAH 2020/21 national tournament criteria:

  • Meets the USAH and AHAI definitions of a “game”
  • Is played in an USAH affiliate’s state or area that allows game competition during pandemic
  • Is played in an USAH Affiliate’s state or area where that State Governing body allows game competition during pandemic
  • Game must be played in a location where the federal, state, county and local municipality governments allow for ice hockey game competition during pandemic at the date and time of the game
  • Games must be played with Certified USAH Roster
  • Documented with a completed Official game scoresheet
  • Use USAH Certified officials

What does AHAI consider non-sanctioned games:

  • Any games played in Illinois when Ice Hockey was not given a “Type of Play Level” according to the Illinois Sports Policy Guide or similar Illinois government policy.
    • As of January 22, 2021, no games played in Illinois were AHAI sanctioned based on IDPH Sports Safety Guidance
  • Any game played without a USAH/ AHAI certified roster
    • Games played under team names other than the AHAI registered Affiliate will not be sanctioned
  • Any game, played in a game, tournament, or event not sanctioned by USAH

Definition of a team:

  • Must meet all current USAH and AHAI team definitions

Definition of a tournament:

  • ARTICLE 6: OTHER TOURNAMENTS 6.0 No tournament may be held within the jurisdiction of AHAI, without the procurement of a Tournament Permit for each age level participating in the tournament as set forth by the Board of Directors of AHAI. A tournament is designated as: 6.0.1 Any number of games played with teams outside of your normal league competition and/or teams from outside of Illinois. 6.0.2 An entry fee is required. 6.0.3 Playdown games required to determine a final winner in any division. 6.0.4. All sanctioned invitational tournaments.

USA Hockey non-sanctioned play guidelines: