In the hopes of encouraging youth and all eligible hockey fans to get their COVID-19 vaccination, the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) is teaming up with five northern health units to host a friendly ‘Vaccine Playoff’ competition amongst teams by keeping a tally of team vaccination rates.
Starting July 14, participating health units including the Algoma Public Health, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, Porcupine Health Unit, Public Health Sudbury & Districts, and the Timiskaming Health Unit will begin posting team vaccination rates.
“For youth in the North, NOJHL players are viewed as role models,” said Dr. Lianne Catton, medical officer of health for the Porcupine Health Unit. “The NOJHL players are receiving their vaccinations to get back to the ice safely and we are hoping this can have a positive influence on our community members so they too can get back to the activities they love, or back into the stands, with the added protection of COVID-19 vaccination.”
A joint release from the Porcupine Health Unit and the NOJHL encouraged those who are hesitant or who have yet to be vaccinated to get the shot.
“individuals have experienced severe outcomes from a COVID-19 infection,” the joint release states. “The more people who get the COVID-19 vaccine, the more protected the whole community will be and the quicker we can all return to the things we love.”
Robert J. Mazzuca, commissioner of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, said league players are proud to be role models both on and off the ice.
“The NOJHL is proud to support the efforts of our regional health units as they strive to provide vaccinations to everyone within their communities,” Mazzuca said. “Our players are proud to be role models to the youth of the 12 communities that we represent, and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
He added that from the head office to the coaching staff to the players, everyone is excited to get back on the ice with fans in the stands.
“The NOJHL looks forward to returning to the arenas in a fully vaccinated and safe environment for our players, hockey fans and our team staff. Our teams are eager to participate in the “Vaccine Playoff” event starting July 14th, 2021.”
For the NOJHL game schedule, visit NOJHL.com.