WEST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — This time of year, youth winter activities are usually in full swing.

But out of fear things could get worse, Gov. Phil Murphy has suspended them all for at least a month, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported Friday.

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MJ Fish of Middletown was recently out on the ice playing the game he loves.

But that game has been put on ice, or pause, by order of the governor to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s a safe sport. Nothing is going wrong,” MJ said.

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Murphy saw potential for things to go very wrong and so by executive order he suspended all practices and competitions for indoor youth sports in the state Saturday through Jan. 2.

MJ’s dad is a youth hockey and high school hockey coach.

“Now, basically, the rug was pulled out from beneath them,” Michael Fish said.


Carlin interviewed Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo outside the rinks at Richard J. Codey Arena.

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“Our death rate is the highest in the New Jersey, so what the governor is doing, he’s making some tough decisions. But they need to be done,” DiVincenzo said.

“When you look at the numbers, it doesn’t really back up shutting down the sport for .0005% percent of participants testing positive,” Michael Fish said.


Some parents and players expect to be disappointed again because the order could be extended, Carlin reported.

“It kind of does put the season in jeopardy,” Michael Fish said.

“If things continue the way they are, the governor is going to have to make another tough decision,” DiVincenzo said.

So, communities and school leagues are scrambling.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association‘s Sports Advisory Task Force announced the 2021 high school ice hockey season that would have started Jan. 4 will now begin Jan. 15 and run through March 6.

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Fingers crossed.