The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) has announced the cancellation of the 2020-21 season.
In a statement released Monday, the league said it remained hopeful that a season would be able to happen, but with “the Ontario Government issuing yet another ‘Stay-at-home’ order, effective through at least May 6th, there simply is no way of completing any kind of meaningful season.”
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All recreational facilities have been closed to the public, and most towns or cities are now in the process of taking their ice out.
Brent Garbutt, the newly named commissioner of the GOJHL, says the league will now shift its focus to a safe return next season.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating to all Ontarians for so many reasons. Our front-line workers have certainly endured the greatest challenges and losses but our devoted athletes, coaches and staff who live for the game have lost as well,” said Garbutt.
“At this time, we will focus our attention on planning for a successful return in the 2021-22 season, knowing full-well that we are not yet out of this pandemic and there will be more obstacles to overcome in the future.”
In November 2020, the GOJHL received approval from the Ontario Hockey Federation to proceed with modified playing rules for the season.
At that time, teams held exhibitions games with modified 5-on-5 rules, including no body contact, with hopes the season could start in the middle of January, depending on local health units.
Play was halted Dec. 23 following provincial shutdown orders.