The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Saturday a number of key points relating to the potential re-start of the 2020-21 regular season.
It is to be noted however, that the resumption of league play remains entirely based up upcoming rulings by the Province of Ontario and the respective regional public health units in relation to the current lock down that is scheduled to expire in Northern Ontario on January 9th.
The Powassan Voodoos have requested, and have received permission, for a leave of absence for the remainder of the 2020-21 season due to ongoing issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Players currently the property of the Voodoos will be dispersed in accordance to league by-laws and regulations, allowing them the opportunity to potentially join other NOJHL clubs and compete this season.
“We thank the Powassan Voodoos organization, the Municipality of Powassan and the North Bay – Parry Sound, and area, Public Health Unit for all their concentrated efforts in attempting to resolve the issues presented,” stated NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
“However, in the end, it was not feasible for the Voodoos to return to play this year, but we trust they’ll be back in full form for the 2021-22 season,” added Mazzuca.
Also, as the Canada – U.S. Border also remains closed for non-essential travel, the Soo Eagles continue to be unable to participate in league play.
The regular national January 10 roster cut-down date for junior-aged players in Canada has now been extended to February 25, 2021.
With that, competing team final rosters will now have to be set by no later than March 7, 2021.
If given the go-ahead, The January cohorts for competing teams this month will be as follows:
- Soo Thunderbirds vs. Rayside-Balfour Canadians
- Blind River Beavers vs. French River Rapids
- Timmins Rock vs. Cochrane Crunch
- Hearst Lumberjacks vs. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Of note, with the odd number of competing teams, the Espanola Express will sit out play in January, but will return in February.
Once again, all potential ‘Return to Play’ scenarios will be based on provincial and regional public health rulings and approved authorizations.
Game schedules will be announced once finalized and approval has been granted by all involved parties.
Further information will be distributed by the NOJHL once it becomes available.