Girls’ varsity hockey team adapts to COVID-19

Maria Maraldo '21 and Rachel Strong '21

Informational flyer for the girl’s varsity hockey team. The girls are starting to move forward with their season.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the regular seasons of virtually every sport and many student athletes have been left to wonder whether or not they will be able to play at all in 2020. This fall, Grosse Pointe South’s sports teams have begun to announce what their winter seasons will look like, one of them being the varsity girls’ hockey team.

The girls’ hockey season is scheduled to begin at its usual time despite challenges with planning because of COVID-19, according to head coach Hailee Craig.

“The start date for tryouts is November 2nd and practice starts immediately after tryouts, but we can’t have any league games until the 16th,” Craig said. “As far as I know, right now everything still looks the same in terms of the schedule, but we can’t play against the out of state teams. The games will look pretty similar to what they would usually look like without COVID.”

Olivia Livingstone ’22 is in her second year of playing for the varsity girls’ hockey team and said there are going to be some differences between this year’s projected season and that of last year.

“Last season, we had a Traverse City tournament and now it is canceled because of COVID,” Livingstone said. “Due to COVID, we will have to wear our masks on and off the ice at all times.”

According to varsity team member Veronica Van Rossen ’21, a concern of hers is being at an increased risk of getting COVID due to hockey being indoors.

“I’m playing field hockey right now, and being outside and able to spread out all along the football field with masks on definitely makes them feel more safe than having to squeeze into a locker room with a larger number of girls,” Van Rossen said. “I don’t know how we’re going to deal with locker rooms, because they’re very small and there’s always a lot of girls in there at once getting ready. I know that it’s going to be required to wear masks and I’m pretty sure that we’re not using buses at all this season.”

Craig said there is no specific plan in place for someone on the team testing positive for COVID.

“We obviously want to make sure that everyone is happy and healthy, but we can’t stop doing everything and live our lives inside of a bubble,” Craig said. ”So we just kind of have to play it by ear. If somebody gets sick, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

According to girls’ hockey player Grace Lindsay ’23, she has an optimistic view on what the outcome of the season will be.

“I’m guessing that the season is going to be similar to last year, just with added temperature checks every day and masks worn on the ice,” Lindsay said. “I just hope that we can make it through the season without anybody on the team getting COVID. I’m really looking forward to the season as long as everyone stays safe.”

Even though there may be some changes made along the way as more news comes out regarding COVID cases in Michigan, the season is projected to start and run all the way through, according to Van Rossen.

“Because of the uncertainty of what the pandemic will look like over the next couple of months, the season will definitely start, but I’m not sure how long it’ll last,” Van Rossen said. “I just hope that it will go uninterrupted and that we’re able to make it to the playoffs like we have in previous years. I feel that as long as everybody on our team is safe, we’ll have the longest season that we possibly can.”

Craig said she is continuing to look at the positives of what this season will bring.

“I hope that we can compete like we did last year,” Craig said. “We made it to the semi-finals, and then finished the season. I’m excited to have freshmen joining and to see some fresh faces.”