Organized youth hockey at a standstill entering the New Year
In early December, the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) Board of Directors announced that it would permit teams and organizations to return to on- and off-ice activities once the region in which each team/organization operates enters the Ontario Government’s Orange “Restrict” level in its COVID-19 response framework.
That was a month ago, and according to The Observer, All arenas are closed as part of the provincewide lockdown that began Dec. 26th, and will last for at least 28 days in southern Ontario.
The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Greater Ontario Hockey League (GOJHL) have both suspended their 2020-21 seasons indefinitely. If junior leagues are using terminology like “suspend” and “indefinite,” it certainly doesn’t bode well for teams and players at the youth level either.
Playing this season will require the approvals of government, local health officials and hockey governing bodies, including the Ontario Hockey Association, Ontario Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada.
Canada, particularly Ontario, remains on a long list of regions throughout the world where youth hockey has either been significantly altered or completely stalemated altogether. Several states in the U.S. have been impacted, as well as Scandinavian countries and regions of Russia, to name a few.
January 4th was a date mentioned in the initial GTHL press release for when a final determination may come regarding the status of the 2020-21 season. However, no update yet on that front.