OHL training camps set to open Nov. 15
The Ontario Hockey League could be back on the ice in less than two months.
The league announced Thursday training camps are scheduled to open Sunday, Nov. 15, with exhibition play commencing on the weekends of Nov. 20-22 and 27-29.
The OHL plans to open the 2020-21 regular season on the previously announced target start date of Tuesday, Dec. 1.
The OHL continues to work with government and health agencies to plan the safe return of play while also finalizing outstanding issues such as safe attendance at venues and cross border travel for teams.
Niagara IceDogs general manager Joey Burke was excited with the news.
“It’s tremendous,” he said. “To get this information that we have a firm date where guys are moving into their billets and training camp will start, it adds to the clarity of everything in the return to play and enforces it’s not something we are going into half-heartedly.
“We have a great plan in place and we’re completely on track to get going in the regular season in December.”
Burke said the IceDogs coaching staff plan to reach out to the players to get them up to speed on the latest developments.
“We have a Zoom call set up with the entire team for Saturday morning to go over all the new stuff and keep everyone informed,” he said.
The proposal still needs to be given approval by the government.
“There will be safety measures everywhere,” he said. “All staff will wear masks at all times and there will be appropriate social distancing in the rooms
“We’re working towards what needs to be changed on the ice but we don’t have anything too concrete there yet.”
Burke said part of the proposal includes a 50 per cent capacity of fans per venue as of Dec. 1.
“That’s the big thing,” he said. “We feel we should be able to get to that. The country as a whole and the CHL (Canadian Hockey League) as a whole are trending in a great direction. B.C. and Ontario are getting there.
“Getting that attendance percentage approval is the big thing and then everything else will follow.”
Other notable dates for the 2020-21 season include a Feb. 10, 2021 trade deadline, the conclusion of the regular season on April 29 and the playoffs taking place from May 2 to June 14. The 2021 Memorial Cup is scheduled for June 17-27 and will be hosted by either the Oshawa Generals or the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
The 2021 OHL Priority Selection is scheduled for Saturday, May 8 followed by the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection on Wednesday, May 12.
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