Nova Scotia

Eagles to take on Islanders in empty arena as some QMJHL games resume

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey league season will resume in Nova Scotia on Friday after a close to two-month break.

New Brunswick teams still sidelined because of COVID-19 restrictions

The Eagles will be back on the ice soon, although without any fans. (Getty Images)

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season is set to resume Friday in Nova Scotia after a nearly two-month break.

The league suspended the season on Dec. 1, saying play could resume as early as Jan. 3. The Quebec-based teams returned to action last week.

Public health officials in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island approved the league to start playing games again on Jan. 29, with no fans in attendance. 

When the season started in the fall, limited crowds were allowed to attend games in Nova Scotia.

Jacob Squires is a 17-year-old defenceman for the Cape Breton Eagles from Prince Edward Island. He said it will be a change with no fans in attendance, but the game will be business as usual.

"Even though it's unfortunate we can't play in front of our fans here in Sydney, we still get to play games so it's positive," said Squires.

Games in the Maritime division start off with the Charlottetown Islanders facing the Eagles on Friday at Centre 200 in Sydney. On Saturday, the Halifax Mooseheads will take on the Eagles in Sydney.

'Thrilled' to play again

Mooseheads president Brian Urquhart said they are fortunate the team was able to get back on the ice to finish this season.

"We're thrilled that we're in a part of the world that allows our kids to get back on the ice," said Urquhart.

When the season started in the fall, Nova Scotia allowed its two QMJHL teams to have limited fans in the arenas. Season ticket holders and a limited number of people holding single game tickets were allowed to attend each game.

The province will reassess restrictions on Feb. 8.

"We're hoping that this is a short-lived situation and we can get back on the ice in front of our fans," said Urquhart.

Only those essential to the game and rink staff will be at the arenas when it's game time.

Nathan Larose, a 20-year-old defenceman with the Eagles, said there is no worry that scouts won't be able to attend these games in person.

"I think lots of scouts or teams in the pro world, they're watching online and they're making the best out of it because they need to adapt as well," said the Quebec native.

New Brunswick is not yet allowing its QMJHL teams to return to action.

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with files from Information Morning Cape Breton

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