Letter to HFL Parents:
As fellow parents, we at the Hopkins Football League know this outbreak has been stressful to many, and recognize that exercising and participating in activities like sports can be a healthy way to cope with stress and connect with our community. After careful thought and planning, we are excited to let you know that we have updated our plan to not only resume practices but also resume scrimmages and games, and while following CDC and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) considerations, and approved by the City of Minnetonka, to protect players, families, and our community.
The Hopkins Football League (HFL) has established its guidelines based on recommended best practices as developed for other community youth football organizations, and in alignment with Governor Tim Walz’s Emergency Executive Order 20-56, “Safely Reopening Minnesota’s Economy and Ensuring Safe Non-Work Activities during the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency” and other related orders. Please note that all guidelines from local, state and federal officials supersede HFL’s recommendations and guidelines.
Consistent with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health for youth sports, the focus of the HFL programming will be on skill development, and has been designed to minimize interaction between players.
Changes to the 2020 Season
We at the HFL recognize that returning to the field is a risk / reward situation that each family will need to assess for themselves. In developing these guidelines, we have sought to eliminate risk as much as practicable, as we have both heard from many of our families – and believe – that the benefits of safe youth interaction and development is important. With this, we understand that with the right protocols in place, the potential for physical distancing and adapted practice and play with youth football is well suited to keep our kids safe. We have sought to weight safety over minor inconveniences. We believe we can continue to develop the skills of the kids in our community while making it fun...!
The health and safety of our youth athletes, staff, and volunteers remain our highest priority. Below, you will find a summary of actions we are taking to help ensure we are lowering COVID-19 risk as much as practicable while also allowing our athletes to play.
In this, we will need your support as parents in helping reinforce the safety protocols in place, and ensuring their attentiveness to direction from coaches. Together we look forward to getting back on the field, and keeping our kids and community safe!
Hopkins Football League Board of Directors.
The following article is taken from a league-wide email to all active Hopkins Football families.
Hello Hopkins Football Families –
We are sure that many of you have heard the news that the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) has made the decision to move tackle football for the high school level to the Spring. Varsity players will be allowed to have some practices this fall in smaller group settings but, unfortunately, no Friday Night Lights for our Hopkins Royals Varsity.
This leads us to discussion regarding our own youth programs. Tackle football and Flag football each have their own challenges and please find information below regarding the status of each.
Please note that having both programs require the full cooperation of parents, players, staff, and other members of our community. It is only with full collaboration that we can consider having a season.
We have been in contact with other area programs about what this means for youth tackle, including HFL. As it stands, the recent announcement has been directed at the High School level only, but there are repercussions at the youth level. Youth tackle leagues have been granted permission for participation due to smaller groups/spectators, and smaller team sizes.
Our tackle program participates in the Lake Minnetonka Athletic Association (LMAA), and the LMAA board took a vote on August 5th to continue with a Tackle Season with modifications to meet Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. Representatives from LMAA met with MDH and approval was granted to the LMAA to move forward with a tackle season. Planning is underway for that season with changes including a reduced game schedule with six Saturday games (no weekdays), strict adherence to COVID Return to Play plan, reduction in number of practices and various safety protocols. Each LMAA organization is required to decide on participation in the fall league.
Among the LMAA schools, HFL is unique in the fact that our tackle program falls in line with the Varsity Program down to the Junior High Level. We do this to merge our program as a benefit for a more consistent experience from 7th grade on, to build our overall program, and provide tackle football at a more cost-competitive number. Because our 7th and 8th graders are coached by District staff, utilize fields provided by the Hopkins School District, and take advantage of busing for our players, moving the Varsity season to spring has larger implications for Hopkins kids than other organizations. At this time, HFL cannot offer tackle football for our 7th or 8th graders through HFL/Junior High Program due to this interdependence.
We share in your disappointment for these kids and have worked hard to come up with options for these kids to continue to play football:
The Flag Program at HFL currently falls under the MDH COVID-19 Sports Guidance requirements for total number of participants in a pod (players, coaches, refs, etc.) on a field to be less than 25 people. Our 7v7 and 5v5 programs meet these requirements and would allow us to have a Flag Season given that we mandate specific requirements during practices and games (i.e. social distancing for spectators, disinfection of equipment, safety protocols). The Flag Program will continue in the Fall in a modified format and will likely include Saturday games, required space between fields, and other potential change to game play (i.e. no defensive rush, coverage sacks, etc.).
Details at Each Grade Level
As it stands right now, please find the following status for the divisions noted below:
Please note that registration is currently open and will stay open through the beginning of season. Friend requests for the Flag Football program will only be honored through August 17th with team formation. Registration can be found at https://www.hopkinsfb.com/footballregistration
Coaches meeting will be held via Zoom call on Sunday, August 17th at 7:00 p.m. If you would like to coach, please indicate in your child’s registration under the Guardian page.
Thanks for your continued support of Hopkins Football!