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Ontario Hockey League hopes to play again Dec. 1

OHL hopes to start in Dec.

The Ontario Hockey League hopes it can begin its 2020-2021 season Dec. 1 with a slightly shortened regular season.

The league made the announcement Wednesday morning, adding any return to the ice would be contingent on players, fans, staff and community are able to "play and attend games safely."

The Canadian Hockey League, which oversees the OHL, WHL and QMJHL, suspended operations March 12 due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

The season and playoffs were eventually cancelled, while plans to start the 2020-2021 season are on hold pending guidance from health authorities in each jurisdiction.

The OHL says it will work with both governments and health authorities over the next four months to finalize outstanding issues such as safe attendance at games and cross-border travel for players and teams.

“We are looking forward to getting back to playing hockey, but are committed to ensuring that we do so in a manner that is safe and healthy for our players, officials, families, billets, teams, staff, fans and the community,” said OHL commissioner David Branch.

“Players will remain at home until the season resumes and teams will work closely with them on both their academic studies and overseeing their on and off-ice development. In addition, the league will liaise with our facilities to ensure that our venues are safe for our return to play.”

If a season can start Dec. 1, the OHL says it would include a 64-game regular season ending April 29 and culminating with the Memorial Cup June 17-27.

When they last addressed the issue, both the WHL and QMJHL had indicated a hope to begin play in October, however, those hopes were also contingent on orders from provincial governments and health agencies. 

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