Ontario approves home games for AHL’s Toronto Marlies, Belleville Senators

Toronto Marlies' Carl Grundstrom celebrates his goal with teammate Justin Holl (4) during third period AHL Calder Cup playoff action against the Texas Stars in Toronto on Thursday June 14, 2018. The Marlies and the Belleville Senators were given the green light to play in the AHL Canadian division on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette

Ontario has given its two American Hockey League teams the green light to play in the province, clearing the way for the Belleville Senators and Toronto Marlies to play home games.

Play in the five-team Canadian Division was set to begin on Friday, but the league put the Senators and the Marlies on the road for all of February as it waited for a call from Ontario.

The top feeder league for the NHL hasn’t released the Canadian schedule past February.

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Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s sport minister, says the two AHL teams in Ontario have proposed comparable safety measures to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Canadian Division was created for this season to avoid border restrictions.

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The other teams are the Laval Rocket, Manitoba Moose and Stockton Heat, who have relocated to Calgary (home of their NHL affiliate) for the 2021 season.

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