Pictured is one of the handheld sprayers Richland Youth Hockey plans to use to clean things in the arena throughout the season. The cleaner is put into the white compartment at the front and sprayed out onto things.

Richland Youth Hockey is being proactive in its approach to the upcoming season, getting prepared to take all the necessary steps to ensure safety for teams and spectators.

Dr. Michael Fink, the president of the Richland Youth Hockey Board and the Alumni Association, said it has been a bit challenging to know exactly what to do to keep everyone safe, but the organization is taking steps now to prepare ahead.

“Everything’s in flux, nobody’s given any hard rules. USA Hockey is saying to follow your local, state ordinances… North Dakota hockey is telling us follow your local city ordinance. The city/county has basically given us very vague ordinances, so nobody really wants to lock anything down,” Fink said.

The one thing Fink is 99 percent sure of is that they will have to clean locker rooms and equipment and benches and the stands, especially between different teams using the rooms and equipment.

With no clear direction from anyone about what exactly to do, Fink found some inspiration from the National Hockey League and the National Football League.

He said that he has seen the behind-the-scenes shows about both leagues, and both used sprayers to sanitize everything.

Thus, Richland Youth Hockey soon had a couple of electrostatic handheld sprayers in its hands, as well as a Sani Sport Supreme System.

The sprayers will be used to sanitize some of the bigger equipment and the benches and the stands, and the Supreme System will be able to clean players’ jerseys and smaller equipment (helmets, gloves).

Fink said that the sprayers put a static charge on the mist sprayed out, meaning that the mist will stick to the items better to clean them more effectively. Within five minutes, any virus should be neutralized, Fink said.

“With one of these, one burst and it should be able to do a locker room in five to 10 minutes, same thing with benches in-between games,” he added.

The cleaning product that will be used in the sprayers is vital oxide, which has been approved by the EPA for use against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The Supreme System, which looks like a big steel locker, cleans things by producing ozone. Ozone used as a cleaning agent is 3,200 times faster and up to 150 times more powerful than chlorine bleach, Fink said.

The ozone will kill bacteria, fungus and other pathogens without leaving residue. The Supreme System is used by NHL and NFL teams as well.

Fink said that the organization itself paid for the Supreme System, and the alumni association paid for the two sprayers.

Fink said the club is still discussing how to do seating at games because the only direction the club got was to reduce seating, which is vague, but rest assured, the club does have the tools needed to ensure safety and that everything will be sanitized for the season.

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