The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League has announced a three-week pause to its 2021-2022 regular season in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases. The league said it remains committed to finishing the season.
The pause was announced today in the wake of the Government of Ontario announcement of a number of COVID-19-related restrictions scheduled to commence on Jan. 5.
“Despite the limitations being put in place by the province, the NOJHL remains wholly committed to the completion of our regular season, playoffs, and league championship series as well as sending our representative to compete in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A event,” NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca said in a news release.
“The players, team staffs, game officials and everyone associated with the NOJHL have done a tremendous job following the guidelines put in place, at every level, with hundreds, upon hundreds, of negative COVID-tests coming back as a result, as we remained dutiful of our responsibilities in dealing with the on-going pandemic.”
Mazzuca, who also chairs the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) board, said NOJHL administrators are exploring options for how to finish out the season.
“Our board of governors, the executive, and our 12 member clubs remain steadfast on planning a number of various scenarios to extend our season and begin a resumption of play, when the go ahead is given and it is safe for us to do so,” he said. “We at the league also continue to work closely with each of the local, regional and provincial health units on a proper course of action, so that we our ready on our end, to begin our earliest return to play, when that arises.”
The NOJHL said it continues to work alongside the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) and the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) throughout the process.
Further updates, including game schedule changes, playoff formats, and other related information, will be released by the NOJHL, once applicable.