By Bill Shields

ROCKLAND (CBS) – Charlie Kenny was just learning to skate and he was loving it. But now, he and 50,000 other kids and coaches in youth hockey have been told to shut it down for two weeks because of a spike in coronavirus cases. “He’ll miss it,” his mom Jen Kenny said. “He just started playing hockey so he’ll miss it a lot but we’ll get back out there.”

At the Bavis Arena in Rockland, the owner has taken every step possible to keep Covid-19 out. Every person who comes in must sign a contact tracing sheet.

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Still it is where one Covid cluster originated in late September, traced back to one team. “I’m hoping this pause will help us force these noncompliant people to become compliant, so that the rest of us are not unfairly penalized,” said Ron Erikson, manager of the Bavis Arena.

The state has confirmed 108 positive cases in youth hockey, so they’ve shut it down, just as the kids were ramping up for the season.

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“For most of these kids this is the thing they love to do the most,” said Steve Buccigross of Weymouth Youth Hockey. “They love to play hockey.”

Rockland Health Agent Delshaune Flipp said while the rinks and hockey clubs may be playing by the rules, it may not stop the virus completely.

“I think that there’s other factors involved, people doing large gatherings, people not wearing masks, and that’s the most important part of it,” Flipp said.

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The Mass. Department of Public Health said the two-week pause will allow for the development of stronger Covid-19 protocols.

Bill Shields