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Hanover Hockey Association reverses plan to begin non-local competition 

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/11/2020 10:40:31 AM
Modified: 12/11/2020 10:40:20 AM

HANOVER — The Hanover Hockey Association (HHA) has overturned its decision to allow three of its youth teams to play games against clubs outside of Grafton County.

The ruling was made in an emergency board meeting Thursday night after the nonprofit Hanover Improvement Society, which operates Campion Rink, informed the HHA earlier in the day that non-local teams could not play there through the end of December because of risks associated with COVID-19. 

“Our number one priority is to provide the absolute safest environment for any community member to enjoy our facility,” Jeff Graham, Hanover Improvement Society general manager, said in an email to the Valley News. “The physical and mental health of our users far out weigh any other considerations.”

The hockey association plans to revisit the issue at the end of the year.

The board’s change in position comes after it reaffirmed its decision on Tuesday to let the three HHA teams play 12 games against other clubs across the state of New Hampshire. Viewed as a test period, it would have started today and lasted until Dec. 27. The HHA, which has barred competition among non-local players during the pandemic, first reached the decision to allow teams to play last week.

The meeting on Tuesday night included a public session where more than 50 of the association’s members weighed in for and against the decision. Critics pointed to higher COVID-19 case numbers in other parts of the state.

The HHA informed its membership of its new ruling in an email on Thursday night, outlining that the decision has caused a cascading effect that reduces the amount of ice time available for all teams. The effect will become pronounced in January when high school hockey season is set to begin competition. 

“We understand the emotion involved in these issues and respect that some may disagree with the decisions we made then and the decision we have made now,” HHA president Adrienne Peraza wrote in the email. “However, we have been extremely disappointed with the disrespectful words, tone and threats that some members our community have used in this discussion. Feel free to disagree with us, and please share your opinions with us; we only ask that you remain respectful.”

Pete Nakos can be reached at pnakos@vnews.com. 




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