Kitchener-Waterloo

Ontario sport minister confident OHL will play games in 2021

Ontario's sport minister is optimistic the Ontario Hockey League will get approval to stage a 2021 season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OHL last of three major-junior leagues to restart after COVID-19 shutdown

Guelph Storm's Alexey Toropchenko checks Prince Albert Raiders' Aliaksei Protas during the 2019 Memorial Cup. Thursday, Ontario sport minister Lisa MacLeod said she is optimistic about the Ontario Hockey League's chances of returning to play soon. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Ontario's sport minister is optimistic the Ontario Hockey League will get approval to stage a 2021 season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lisa MacLeod says she's "feeling great" about the OHL's chances of playing games.

The OHL is the only one of Canada's three major-junior hockey leagues not to begin a 2021 season.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League started close to its usual October start date, but the season was suspended in late November before resuming in January. The Quebec teams are playing in hubs, while those in Atlantic Canada are playing in home arenas.

The Western Hockey League now has approval for all four divisions to play with some divisions in hubs and some in home arenas. The season started Feb. 26.

The OHL will have to figure out what to do with its three American teams – the Saginaw Spirit, Flint Firebirds and Erie Otters – with border restrictions coming into play. The WHL's five American teams are playing exclusively against each other.

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