OHL Officially Cancels 2020-2021 Season
After reaching an agreement between the OHL and Government of Ontario earlier in April for return to play, the OHL has decided to cancel their 2020-2021 season in light of the most recent stay-at-home orders.
“We have worked tirelessly with the Province and the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the past year on different scenarios and different windows of opportunity but the reality is the conditions in Ontario have never been right to start and complete an uninterrupted, safe opportunity for players to showcase their skills,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch in a league news release.
“We owe it to our players and their families to be definitive. We were committed to return and play this season, but our hopes and desires have been dashed by the cruel realities of COVID-19.”
According to the OHL, “the League and Province had reached an agreement on the OHL Return to Play plan but on the eve of announcing any details, COVID-19 conditions worsened dramatically as new variants of concern took hold and posed a significant threat to overwhelm the health care system”.
“Ontario has the strongest health restrictions of any jurisdiction in North America and we understood that this would make a return to play scenario extremely difficult,” added Commissioner Branch. “The openness the Premier, Minister Lisa MacLeod, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer and key staff have afforded us has not gone unnoticed and is greatly appreciated. We all agree that providing certainty for our players and families, even if it is not the answer they would want to hear, is the right thing for everyone’s health and safety and for the mental health challenges faced by many of our young players.”
The OHL is the only league in the Canadian Hockey League who did not manage to play games this season.