While nothing is set in stone, the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League is now targeting a January 15th start.
Naturally, this time frame can change as it’s dependent on regional public health approval along with Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.
“I’m very excited for the season. It’s going to be fun to be back playing some competitive hockey,” Caledonia Pro- Fit Corvairs rookie Tie Jacobs said. “And from what we’re told, there will be a few rule changes. We don’t know all of them yet, but it seems like limited body contact and a face-off rule change.”
The regular season, which is scheduled to conclude at the end of March, with Sutherland Cup won by no later than June, will have some rapid changes this year. Various structure changes will be implemented; deliberate bodychecking, intentional physical contact, post whistle scrums and any kind of physical altercations will not be allowed. Also bubble face masks will be mandatory. Also, the number of players competing per team will depend on the facility structure and Public Health Unit.
“From what we’re told, there will be a few rule changes,” Jacobs said. “We don’t know all of them yet, but seems like limited body contact and a face off rule change.”
Once play resumes, most arenas won’t be allowing fans. Also, only 24 total teams from the GOJHL’s three conferences will be playing as the Buffalo Regals and Welland Jr. Canadians from the Golden Horseshoe Conference have officially opted out for the season.
“We are grateful and excited to have received this confirmation from the OHF as we work towards getting our players back on the ice,” said Mark Tuck, GOJHL Commissioner. “Along with our goal of providing the best junior hockey experience in Ontario, our League is committed to ensuring a safe return to play for everyone involved.” Tuck also went on to add,
“GOJHL appreciates our teams, players, staff members, officials, fans, and everyone associated with our League for their dedication and patience during these unprecedented times,” said GOJHL Commissioner Mark Tuck. We wish the best of luck to all as we begin the GOJHL 2020-21 season.”
The playing format will see teams compete within brackets in their division which is formatted so that they are competing against only one specific team for a set time frame. Following a three-week cycle, these teams will be taking a 14- day isolation hiatus to exchange cohorts.
“To prepare I’ve been training at home lifting, doing my best to prepare for the season,” Jacobs said. “We’ve been skating a few times each week for the past few weeks. Getting a feel for each other seeing how we play.”
Now, all Jacobs and the entire league can do is play the waiting game to see if indeed things will be safe enough, depending on numbers, to officially drop the puck come January, 2021.