The year 2022 for the London Knights was supposed to start with a game against the Erie Otters.
Those plans changed early in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve when the Ontario Hockey League announced that “Due to COVID-19 protocols affecting the London Knights Hockey Club,” the game has been postponed.
The number of Knights games that will need to be rescheduled is now at four.
London was unable to play a Dec. 17 game against Owen Sound due to COVID-19 issues within the Attack organization.
A home-and-away matchup with Sarnia following the holiday break was wiped out due to COVID-19 protocols affecting the Sting.
London became the ninth team this week out of the 20-team league to have games postponed. Barrie, Oshawa, Kingston, Peterborough, Windsor, Kitchener, Owen Sound, Windsor, Guelph and Niagara find themselves in the same situation as London.
The Colts and the Attack have entered COVID-19 protocols for the second time.
New Year’s Eve was going to feature eight games in all. That number is now down to two and one of those games wasn’t originally on the schedule. The Ottawa 67’s and the North Bay Battalion each had games that they could not play this weekend due to their opponents being in COVID-19 protocols so they made arrangements to play each other in North Bay, Ont.
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There is only one game out of six still set to be played on New Year’s Day and two of five still slated for Jan. 2, 2022.
The OHL has not released any information about a possible pause to the season as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League did on Dec. 21. The QMJHL was supposed to return to play on Jan. 7 but that date has now been moved. Players in the QMJHL are now slated to return to their teams on Jan. 14 with the hope that games will resume on Jan. 17.
The Western Hockey League has not had the same kind of challenges faced by its major junior partners. It has only had three games postponed this week out of 42 on its schedule.
The next possible game for the Knights will be Jan. 7 at home to the Flint Firebirds at 7:30 p.m. at Budweiser Gardens.
London would head for Flint, Mich., the next day for a rematch with the Firebirds before heading to Kitchener on Jan. 9.
The Knights announced the official return for defenceman Kirill Steklov on Dec. 31. Steklov had been playing this season in Russia and most recently had been with Team Russia at the world junior hockey championship.
London also acquired overage forward Camaryn Baber from Saginaw on Dec. 31 for a fourth-round pick in 2025 and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2025.