By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
The Ontario Hockey League season is on hold as sports leagues across the world are closing their doors to help contain COVID-19.
The Canadian Hockey League released a statement stating the Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are suspending all hockey activity until further notice.
“In the best interest of the health of our players, member team staff, billets, on and off-ice officials, and our great fans as well as the general public, we deemed this to be the best course of action, effective immediately,” reads a statement from OHL commissioner David Branch. “We will continue to monitor ongoing public health developments regarding COVID-19 in the hope of continuing play at a point when it is safe to do so.”
The Oshawa Generals also released a statement, noting the organization is in full support of the league’s decision.
“As a result of this decision, the Generals as a member of the CHL, will not be playing games until the CHL, along with the government and health officials, decide the timing is right to return to the ice,” reads the team’s statement.
The Gens’ final three home games, which would have taken place this weekend, will be rescheduled.
Speaking with The Oshawa Express, general manager Roger Hunt says the safety of players, fans, and the community come first.
“We support the league’s decision wholeheartedly. It’s a world decision, not a OHL, Oshawa Generals or a hockey situation, it’s a world health situation,” says Hunt.
Hunt admits while he hopes it’s a short shutdown, it is a bit of a welcome break for the team, which just finished a tough weekend against the London Knights and the Guelph Storm.
“I think we have to look at it not as a hockey situation… we want to make sure that [the players and their families] are all safe. It’s probably a time to reflect on family and friends more than hockey right now,” he says.
Players have been given the opportunity to go home and be with their families if they want.
He notes import players such as defenseman Nico Gross and forward Oliver Suni are still in Oshawa, as their families are in Europe.
Hunt explains the team will wait for more information from the league and the government before hitting the ice again and calling the players back to Oshawa.