By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
The province has told the Ontario Hockey League there can be no physical contact in the upcoming season to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod recently stated the OHL will have to try and remove all physical contact, including bodychecking, before the new season begins in December.
“It would be safe to say that body contact, unless it’s incremental, will not be permitted as a result of COVID-19,” says MacLeod.
MacLeod says her team and the OHL are in constant contact, and are working to come up with a reopening plan for the league, which has 20 teams, including the Oshawa Generals.
“We work incredibly well with them. [OHL commissioner] David Branch is a part of our ministerial advisory committee as well, so they’re well aware of the health crisis that we find ourselves in,” says MacLeod.
Currently, the OHL faces several obstacles in its return to play, including three teams in the United States.
The US has seen 7.64 million cases of COVID-19, and approximately 213,000 deaths from the virus. Therefore the border between Canada and the US has remained closed to all non-essential personnel.
Unlike several professional leagues, the OHL has not expressed interest in playing in a bubble, says MacLeod.
“I think that their hope would be not to be in a bubble or tournament situation,” she says.