Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, right, speaks at the Yukon government’s weekly COVID-19 update press conference on Aug. 26 as Premier Sandy Silver looks on. The Yukon government has released new guidelines for contact sports that will allow for games and tournaments to be played under certain conditions. (Alistair Maitland Photography)

Yukon government releases new COVID-19 rules for contact sports

Yukon Sport says it’s a relief for residents trying to plan their winter routines

Basketball is on again — as long as teams are ready to dunk the ball into sanitizer after the game.

The Yukon government released new guidelines Aug. 26 on how residents can return to the ice, field and court for contact sports.

“I’m very glad these new guidelines can be available,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. “Part of the guidelines are mini-leagues, so games and even tournaments can be arranged within that cohort so that you’re allowing normal contact that might occur within play so you can have games.”

The new guidelines will apply to both children and adults for sports that can’t accommodate physical distancing between players, including hockey, soccer, volleyball and basketball.

All players, coaches and parents will be required to follow facility plans, in addition to avoiding spitting, handshaking and blowing noses without a tissue. The number of participants on the field or rink is being limited to 30 per game.

Larger leagues are being asked to create “mini-leagues” with a maximum of 60 players, not including coaching and officials. This will allow teams and competition to continue with reduced risk of transmission and easier contact tracing.

Players are being restricted to involvement in just two mini-leagues at any time.

“Before this, everyone was really in limbo trying to figure out what the national body regulations meant in a jurisdiction like ours. We’re very different from downtown Toronto, for example,” said Sport Yukon executive director Tracey Bilsky.

Bilsky said some organizations, including the women’s hockey league, have been able to plan the season based on early drafted guidelines. Others have been in limbo, waiting to see if access would be allowed.

“With these guidelines our Yukon sport organizations can sit down and start to plan. This is when everyone is planning their Yukon winter, and how to stay sane in the dark and cold. It’s such great news, compared to a couple months ago,” she said.

Players and spectators are still recommended to physically distance whenever possible, including before and after games, and continuing with hand hygiene practices. They are also being asked to not participate with any illness symptoms, no matter how mild.

It’s also recommended that equipment and change rooms are disinfected after use, and that players come dressed in full gear when possible.

When change rooms are needed, staggering times to allow for physical distancing is being encouraged.

Players and leagues are also being asked to refer to the guidelines released from national bodies for each sport. For example, Hockey Canada has released COVID-19 Safety Guidelines that include things like isolation protocols, dressing room and practice protocols.

Contact Haley Ritchie at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read