Ontario’s sport minister says NHL talks ongoing as league plans to announce schedule


TORONTO — The NHL plans to release its 2021 schedule today but Ontario’s minister of sport says discussions are still ongoing about how the all-Canadian North division will operate.

Ontario is scheduled to enter a province-wide lockdown on Dec. 26 that will last for 28 days in its most heavily populated regions, including Toronto and Ottawa.

The NHL says its new season will start Jan. 13, 10 days before the lockdown is scheduled to lift.

Sport Minister Lisa MacLeod, who represents the Ottawa area in Ontario’s legislature, says federal and provincial governments are still meeting about the NHL’s return-to-play plan.

She also says that for Ontario to sign off on the NHL’s plan it would need approval from Toronto, Ottawa, and Ontario’s chief medical officers of health as well as a thumbs up from the provincial cabinet.

Ontario’s lockdown orders allow professional and elite athletes to train within the province but currently prohibits competition.