OHL unveils plans for a 40-game season, starting in February

OTTAWA — The Ottawa 67’s and Kingston Frontenacs will return to the ice in February for a shortened 2020-21 Ontario Hockey League season.

The OHL has announced a timeline for its Return to Play plan for the new season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the new timelines, OHL training camps will open on Saturday, Jan. 23, with the regular season running from Feb. 4 through May 8.

Teams will play a 40 game season, primarily against opponents in their geographic region. The OHL says limiting teams to their geographic region will reduce travel in consideration of the health and safety of all players and staff.

As for further safety features, in an interview with CTV Ottawa, the Ottawa 67’s head coach Andre Tourigny confirms that there are no plans for an OHL bubble for his team.

“Not with the 67’s,” Tourigny says. “We’ll have a lot of protocols, a lot of testing, a lot of prevention, a lot of social distancing, but we’ll not be in the bubble.”

Tourigny says he expects more COVID safety protocols to be rolled out over the next few weeks as further decisions are made, adding that he “trusts” the OHL officials.

“They did not go in depth, I think they have a few more things they have to finalize,” he explains. “I think they will provide all the information that the appropriate time and we’ll follow every rule the OHL will suggest.”

Kingston Frontenacs head coach Paul McFarland says the team are waiting on further COVID-19 safety procedures from the OHL.

“We’re trying to plan every way that we can for training camp, and we know that we’re going to have to not have all the answers and as we gain them, hopefully be flexible and react quickly,” he explains.

Eight teams will qualify for the 2021 OHL playoffs, beginning on May 11. The OHL Playoffs will consist of three rounds, the first being a best-of-five opening round, followed by two best-of-seven formats to crown a league champion by no later than Monday, June 14.

The 2021 Memorial Cup will begin Thursday, June 17 in either Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie.

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