After almost a year of only practice and no competitive play, hockey parents around Western New York say enough is enough.

“We’re ready for the next step, and we’re ready to do so safely,” said the event organizer, Sarah McGuire. “That’s what we’re asking for, you know, peacefully. That’s what we want.”

Concerned for the mental well-being of Western New York children, former psychiatric nurse, Korri Ann Spadone, says putting restrictions on them, is in turn neglecting their mental health.

“These kids are just stuck in their houses, they’re in front of their screens because they’re not in school. And it just breaks my heart,” she said. “I mean, look at these little kids, they want to get on the ice. They need to have that community, and being part of a team. ”

New York State Senator, Rob Ortt stopped by the rally. He says, since other states allow competitive play, New York should consider it too.

“Right now, you’re saying to kids, you can practice, but you can’t play a game. I don’t know if the COVID virus knows the difference between the competitive aspect of a game and practicing.”

With the best interest of their kids in mind, many parents we spoke with say the same thing- the mix of virtual learning and no competition, is causing a strain on them.

“Not only do they not go to school, but they can’t play the game that they love. They can’t be around the people they need, just for their mentality.”

Senator Ortt agrees with many parents, in that there needs to be consistency in the decisions made throughout the state.

“I think we’ve reached a point, where we…as elected leaders, can collectively make these decisions, and not allow one person to make them…sort of without any real consistency.”