QMJHL postpones additional games due to provincial red zone restrictions
Quebec-based clubs suspended from play since Oct. 14; 4 to resume season on Friday
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has announced that teams located in in the province of Quebec's red zones — where organized sport is currently prohibited — will continue to have their games postponed until further notice.
The league sent out a statement Thursday reading: "All games planned for this weekend will be rescheduled. The rest of the regular season schedule will be re-evaluated next week."
The league says the decision was made after a "constructive meeting with Public Health Officials," earlier in the day.
All 12 Quebec-based teams in the QMJHL have been suspended from regular-season play since Oct. 14 because of rising cases of COVID-19 in the province. The league said at the time it would reassess by Oct. 28, with six of the 12 franchises located in red zones.
Four Quebec teams have been given the go-ahead to lace up their skates beginning Friday — the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, Val-d'Or Foreurs, Baie-Comeau Drakkar and Rimouski Oceanic — with all located in yellow and/or orange zones.
The QMJHL's Maritimes Division has continued to play through the suspension of Quebec-based teams, with the six squads located in an Atlantic bubble.
The QMJHL, which opened its season on Oct. 2, had outbreaks on two teams in its opening week. The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada announced they had 18 positive tests, while the Sherbrooke Phoenix said they had eight after the two teams played each other twice on the first weekend of the season. The Drummondville Voltigeurs became the third team to suspended team in-person activities last week after seven positive tests within the organization.
WHL, OHL amining to start seasons in 2021
The QMJHL is the only one of Canada's three major junior hockey leagues that has started play this season.
The Western Hockey League said earlier this month it plans to begin the season Jan. 8, while the Ontario Hockey League announced Thursday it's aiming for a Feb. 4 start date.
The QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats also missed games due to New Brunswick government restrictions, but resumed play last weekend as part of the Maritimes Division.
The Quebec government says it is promising $12 million in funding for the QMJHL during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money from Quebec — part of a $70 million package for sports and leisure federations — will be divided among the 12 QMJHL teams in the province with each team getting $1 million.