The Ontario Hockey League announced a December 1, 2020 targeted start date yesterday. This date, in Canada is a realistic and likely achievable return to play for the top Major Junior league in Canada.
The Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior League are now expected to issue revised start date plans to mirror the OHL’s plan. Multiple sources are reporting that this has been agreed to in order to make the Memorial Cup National Championship a viable option for 2021.
Canada, unlike the United States has the COVID-19 pandemic largely under control and is experiencing limited infection numbers. These delays when looking at the COVID timeline would appear to give Canada enough time to potentially eradicate infections all together.
The December 1 start date takes Canada through traditional flu season, and beyond predicted second wave COVID infection models.
Other Junior A and B leagues in Canada are now expected to begin mirroring Major Junior and we could see the majority of leagues embrace the December 1 return to play date.
Meanwhile, more and more top NHL and NCAA prospects are taking flight to Europe to begin their seasons in September. This exodus is also likely to continue as players look to have full seasons.
Players understand that while the border remains closed to players, it also remains closed to scouts. While Europe being open has no limitations and teams have been increasing their scouting presence for months already.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser