High School Hockey Players Wore Face Masks During Games

Three high school kids playing hockey with face masks on
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Three high school kids playing hockey with face masks on

The 2020-2021 high school hockey season was one that no one could have dreamed of. With the outbreak of COVID-19, teams had to adjust their game plan to stay safe and healthy on the ice. One of the most immediate adaptations made by players and coaches alike was for all players to wear masks during practices and games.

At first, many players were less than thrilled about having to wear a mask while playing hockey - a sport that is typically fast paced and requires deep breaths to keep up with the action. Even so, everyone adapted quickly as it became clear that wearing a mask was necessary to protect themselves and their teammates from the virus.

As soon as they heard about the implementation of masks on the ice, they began preparing for what would be an entirely new experience for them all. Players discussed how best to make sure they were able to breathe correctly while wearing their masks; coaches developed plans for practice drills that worked with the extra layer; and administrators stocked up on extra masks just in case someone forgot theirs at home. It wasn't an easy transition, but everyone was determined to persevere through it for the sake of their own safety.

Not only did players have to adjust their physical game play when wearing masks, but they also had to adapt mentally as well. Hockey has always been a mental game—with split second decisions needing to be made on where and when you can move on the ice—but with a mask this became even more difficult. The fogging up of face masks due to condensation from breath caused by face coverings made it harder for some players to see. Coaches spent extra time during practices teaching players how best to control their breathing while skating around and playing defense so as not to reduce visibility too much during games.

It was amazing how resilient these hockey players were when they adjusted to the new norms and played through it, despite the difficulties the global pandemics presented to them. It was also inspiring how people came together to make sure everyone remained safe, but at the same time still able to play hockey. Hockey is a sport most kids pick up and stick with from a very young age. Families dedicate a crazy amount of time and resources to supporting their young athletes play, and it was good to see them finish their seasons.

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Picture of author Anthony Faust

About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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