GOJHL announces new start date for season with modified rules

The new GOJHL league logo. (Provided by GOJHL Commissioner Mark Tuck)

The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League is once again moving back a potential start date for the 2020-2021 season.

In a release on November 23, the GOJHL said it now has a tentative start date for January 15 pending regional public health approval. Official schedules for the 24 GOJHL teams will be released pending the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams will play within brackets in their conferences that will see teams play only one opponent during a set time frame. Teams will play in a three-week cycle and will take a 14-day isolation break to exchange cohorts.

The modified 5-v-5 rules will involve some significant rule changes for players. The changes include:

-Absolutely no deliberate body checking permitted
-Intentional physical contact is not permitted
-Elimination of post-whistle scrums or altercations
-Enforcement of all players wearing an approved “bubble” face mask and facial covering
-Teams will follow GOJHL Dressing Room Protocol and E-Waivers Tracing
-Number of players able to participate in a game per team will vary depending on the facility structure and Public Health Unit.

The regular season, if it proceeds on January 15, 2021, will end at the end of March 2021, with the 87th Sutherland Cup being awarded no later than June 2021. Most of the GOJHL arenas are still not in a position to permit fans at this time, which is something that will be up to local public health officials when the season hopefully begins.

“We are grateful and excited to have received this confirmation from the OHF as we work towards getting our players back on the ice. Along with our goal of providing the best junior hockey experience in Ontario, our League is committed to ensuring a safe return to play for everyone involved,” said Mark Tuck, GOJHL commissioner. “The GOJHL appreciates our teams, players, staff members, officials, fans, and everyone associated with our League for their dedication and patience during these unprecedented times. We wish the best of luck to all as we begin the GOJHL 2020-2021 season.”

For more information, visit https://www.gojhl.ca/.