Yale 15-O - National Tier 1 Champions 2017 / Yale 14-U 2003 - Kennedy Memorial Elite Division Champions 2017 / Yale 12-U 2005 - Connecticut Hockey Conference Tier 2 Champions 2018
Yale Youth Hockey and Junior Bulldogs Hockey
Yale Youth Hockey Association, Inc.
Among the Oldest Youth Hockey Organizations
in the United States
Yale Youth Hockey: Learn to Skate-Play Hockey to 12-U
Junior Bulldogs Hockey: 14-U to 18-U
“Yale Youth Hockey Association, Inc. is neither sponsored nor affiliated with Yale University. “Yale” is a registered trademark and used with the permission of the University.”
Massachusetts Hockey Player Injured
Prayers, well-wishes, and donations are pouring in for the family of Milton Academy hockey player Jake Thibeault, who suffered a severe injury on the ice over the weekend that left him unable to move from the waist down.
“Jake is tough, is overflowing with grit and is determined to walk again,” said Thibeault’s father, Michael Thibeault of Fitchburg, in a Facebook posting Monday. “But he is scared beyond belief. Losing hockey and his dream of playing collegiately, which we now know for certain was happening, is soul crushing for him. But he accomplished a lot doing what he loves and deserves praise for it.”
Todd Bland, Milton Academy’s head of school, voiced support for the younger Thibeault in a statement Tuesday.
“We are all pulling for Jake Thibeault, a dedicated, courageous, and beloved member of the Milton Academy community,” Bland said. “We remain in close contact with Jake and his family, and will continue to support his recovery journey.”
Jake, an 18-year-old senior, suffered a spinal cord injury Saturday in a collision on the ice, fracturing two vertebrae that caused paralysis from the waist down and a small brain bleed, according to a statement posted to the Greg Hill Foundation, which is operating an online fund-raiser for the Thibeaults that Michael Thibeault linked to on his Facebook page.
“Jake and his family will need help and support as Jake starts to recover from his injuries,” said the foundation, which had raised more than $20,000 for the injured teen’s care as of Tuesday morning.
Steve Lowney, who coached Jake during his sophomore year on the combined Fitchburg High School and Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School team before Jake transferred to Milton, said Tuesday that his former player was always a joy to coach.
“He was a budding leader,” Lowney said in a telephone interview. “It really hits you pretty hard.”
Lowney said Jake was willing to do whatever was asked of him on the ice, whether it was killing power plays, playing forward, or playing defense.
“I couldn’t possibly ask for any more from the kid,” Lowney said. “He was just so coachable. He didn’t have a selfish bone in his body.” Just a day before the injury, Lowney said, he’d been texting with the Fitchburg State hockey coach about the strides Jake had made on the ice, praising his “effort and motor. He was just nonstop out there.”
Jake’s parents told WCVB-TV outside UMass Memorial Medical Center, where their son is being treated, that he was injured during an Eastern Alliance Kickoff tournament Saturday in Hopedale, where he was playing with the Boston Bulldogs, another team that he’s on.
“We rushed out on the ice,” Michael Thibeault told the station. “He was like that [on the ground] for five minutes. It was, without a doubt, the hardest part of my life I’ve had to experience.”
The Bulldogs tweeted out words of support for their injured player Sunday.
“Please keep Bulldog and @MiltonAcad_puck forward Jake Thibeault in your prayers,” the Bulldogs tweeted. “Jake had a collision yesterday at the EAK tourney and suffered a spinal cord injury and small brain bleed. He’s got limited mobility in lower extremities. Jake to nurses today.. ’I’m ready to fight.’”
Kevin Lizotte, a former youth hockey coach of Jake’s, launched a second fund-raising appeal on GoFundMe, which the elder Thibeault also linked to via Facebook. That fund-raiser had brought in more than $191,000 as of Tuesday morning.
“He is so much bigger than words,” Lizotte wrote of his former player. “For those who don’t know Jake, let me try. What makes Jake an outstanding hockey player has less to do with skills and skating and so much more to do with character. Jake is among the most dedicated, hard working student athletes. He has more grit and perseverance than most 18 year old’s.”
Lizotte described Jake Thibeault as “the ultimate teammate,” always ready to support his fellow players on the ice.
“He’s the first to pass the puck to set up a perfect scoring opportunity for teammate and the first kid to provide backup if someone is disrespecting his team,” Lizotte wrote. “He is positive and encouraging to others both on and off the ice. Off the ice, he’s the first to hold the door and the last to order his meal. He embodies the Milton Mustang’s motto ‘Dare to be true.’ He is a true gentleman, a true athlete, a true student, a true teammate, and a true friend.”
All money raised from the appeal, Lizotte continued, will go toward Jake Thibeault’s rehabilitation needs, medical costs, and related expenses.
The Connecticut Hockey Conference (CHC) has been working with the Connecticut Department of Health and the Connecticut Rink Owners Association and has released the 2021-22 season COVID requirements for all youth hockey organizations in the CHC.
All players, coaches, on-ice officials, off-ice officials, attendants (scorekeepers, timekeepers, and penalty box helpers), and spectators. must wear a mask or face covering at all times when inside a facility. This includes practices, scrimmages, games, tournaments, etc.
CHC organizations can be penalized if members are not adhering to the mask requirements, including and up to disqualification from all CHC state tournaments.
Players & Coaches that test positive for COVID
When someone becomes infected, that person must go into “isolation” (vs. contacts who go into quarantine). Isolation lasts for a full 10 days from the time symptoms started or the positive test was administered if the individual did not experience symptoms prior to the positive result.
Return to Play
After an infected player’s isolation period ends, they should confirm with their medical provider that they are cleared to return to athletic activities. A written note from the players pediatrician is required to be presented in order to Return to Play.
Players & Coaches that are exposed to COVID
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated who are identified as a close contact of a known COVID-19 case must quarantine away from sports for a full 14 days from the date of their last exposure to the case, or for 10 days with a negative test at day 8 or later. Even if players are allowed to return to school or other activities earlier than the timelines listed above, they should not return to sports until 14 days or 10 days with a test.
Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine away from sports at all, as long as they do not have any symptoms. It is recommended that fully vaccinated individuals get tested between day 3-5 after their last exposure to a case and wear a mask when around others at all times until they receive a negative test result or for a full 14 days.
A person is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or 2 weeks after their single dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Proof of Vaccination Players
In order to be able to properly handle a team when and if there is a COVID exposure on that team, we have created a registration for all Players 12 years of age or older (birth years 2003 through 2009), for you to upload a copy of their vaccination card. Having this information on file will help us properly assess each player on the team to determine if they can keep playing or not per the above. If you choose not to provide this information, it will be assumed that your player is not vaccinated. Please note, per the CT State Department of Health, it is NOT a HIPAA violation to request proof of vaccination for all participants.
As always, if a player or coach exhibits any sign of illness, they should not attend any practices or games.
If a player or coach has been exposed and in contact with someone outside of hockey, who has tested positive Covid, you should follow the guidelines above.
Please note, these are the requirements for all players, coaches and attendees of any practice, game or tournament in the state of Connecticut and all CHC Youth Hockey organizations and rinks will follow the same requirements. These requirements are subject to change and we will communicate when and if they do. Thank you.