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A travel barrier for youth hockey is coming down

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BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – Another barrier to traveling youth hockey is coming down as a state judge has lifted travel restrictions on traveling teams.

State health officials have designated amateur sporting events based on their ability to spread the coronavirus as low risk and higher risk.

Hockey falls into the ‘high risk’ category, which also comes with travel restrictions that can put the seasons of some traveling teams on the ice.

Traveling hockey teams play their games all over New York, but the state limited their travel to local games.

Two youth hockey groups and the Lockport Ice Arena have taken the state to court to ease some of those restrictions, especially in terms of travel.

Supreme Court Judge Paul Wojtaszek issued a preliminary injunction allowing the hockey teams to travel intrastat after law firm Hogan Willig questioned the impact of those restrictions on the spread of the coronavirus.

“So what we tried to do was show the judge that there is no evidence that traveling to play a hockey game is any different from someone traveling for any other reason. There are no statistics to indicate that it causes more problems, more viral transmissions, anything like that. So why put a restriction that doesn’t really do anyone good, but has a big impact on these kids’ ability to play the game? ”

Corey Hogan, HoganWillig Attorneys

Lawyers for the youth leagues also wanted to change the classification of youth hockey from high risk to a lesser designation, but the judge turned down that part of the request.

Corey Hogan told us this ruling should pave the way for a number of local hockey tournaments, including a state tournament and a national tournament at the Northtown Center in Amherst, although there are still public restrictions on those games.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative journalist who has been on the News 4 team since 1994. Check out more of his work here.

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