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Ontario Hockey League announces return to play plan, 2020-21 season to start Dec. 1

Kinston Frontenacs' Shane Wright moves with the puck during OHL action against the Ottawa 67's in Kingston, Ont. on Friday Sept. 27, 2019.
Kinston Frontenacs' Shane Wright moves with the puck during OHL action against the Ottawa 67's in Kingston, Ont. on Friday Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Reuben Polansky-Shapiro

The Ontario Hockey League has announced its return to play plan after it postponed the 2019-20 season in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The league says it plans to come back on Dec. 1 with a 64-game schedule and a 16-team playoff format.

The regular season is scheduled to end on April 29, 2021, and the 102nd Memorial Cup is scheduled to be played June 17-27, 2021 and will be hosted by either the Oshawa Generals or Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

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“We are looking forward to getting back to playing hockey, but are committed to ensuring that we do so in a manner that is safe and healthy for our players, officials, families, billets, teams, staff, fans and the community,” said OHL commissioner David Branch. “Players will remain at home until the season resumes and teams will work closely with them on both their academic studies and overseeing their on and off-ice development. In addition, the league will liaise with our facilities to ensure that our venues are safe for our return to play.”

Read more: Ontario Hockey League hires director of diversity and inclusion

The OHL says it will continue to work over the next four months with government and health agencies to “finalize outstanding issues such as safe attendance at venues and cross border travel for teams and players.”

The league has not said how it will handle its U.S.-based teams in Erie, Pa., and Flint and Saginaw, Mich., if the Canada-U.S. border is still closed come Dec. 1.

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