For Eric Bernal, president of the Richmond Jets Minor Hockey Association, the timing could not have been better.
After around five months of a pandemic-induced ban on most youth sports, the City of Richmond was set to open its ice arenas again in August.
However, the logistics of performing health checks on every single player and coach entering the facilities for practices and games was going to be challenging, to say the least.
Thankfully, for Bernal and the thousands of Jets players eager to get back on the ice, around the same time, TeamSnap – a popular organizational app used by amateur sports teams in North America – launched its own Health Check tool.
Eyeing the opportunity to streamline and navigate a previously difficult and time-consuming process of screening everyone entering an arena, the Jets were one of the first organizations in Canada to roll out the TeamSnap Health Check across its entire network of teams.
“Most of the teams were already using TeamSnap, so it was an incredibly easy transition,” Bernal told the Richmond News.
“It’s amazing, so much is done on TeamSnap now, including registering players. Their COVID screening became apparent to us in late July I think.
“Then we started talking with the city and they decided on Aug. 24 as an opening date. That aligned perfectly for when the health check app was being released.”
The beauty of it, added Bernal, is that the screening tool is tied to each event, whether it be a team practice or a game.
“It gets turned on about four hours before a game or practice and each player will go into it and answer the questions,” he said.
“Once they check them all off, their screen turns green and when they walk into the arena, they show that to the team manager and then they can enter. It’s a quick way of letting a team know that everyone is feeling OK.”
Bernal said the club basically has to police itself when it comes to making sure people entering city arenas are healthy and previously, volunteers were having to do it.
He said no one allowed in the arenas at the moment, other than the players and coaches, with teams playing competitive games in small, cohort bubbles.
“The kids are so happy to get back out on the ice, let’s hope it continues.”