The Ontario Hockey League wishes to start its next season in February.

The OHL announced Thursday it plans to start the season on Feb. 4. The season is slated to be 40 video games, below the normal 68.

The playoffs will be cut in half, with eight teams rather of the normal 16 qualifying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The very first round will be a best-of-five with the next two best-of-seven.

The Memorial Cup championship game competition is scheduled to begin June 17 in Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie.

One potential concern for the OHL is body contact. Ontario sport minister Lisa MacLeod stated earlier this month that the OHL will need to attempt to remove physical contact, including bodychecking, if it's to have a season.

Another possible issue is cross-border play. 3 of the OHL's 20 groups are based in the U.S.-- the Flint Firebirds, Erie Otters and Saginaw Spirit.

The league states groups will play mainly against challengers in their geographic region.

"Although we aspire to get back on the ice, the security and well-being of our gamers, staff, authorities, significant fans and communities stays critical," OHL commissioner David Branch said in a declaration.

The OHL is the last of Canada's three significant junior hockey leagues to reveal plans for the season.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season began earlier this month, but the schedule has actually been impacted by numerous COVID-19 outbreaks along with provincial government restrictions. After play was limited to Maritimes Division teams the past two weeks, some Quebec groups are arranged to resume play this weekend.

The Western Hockey League stated earlier this month it prepares to start its season on Jan. 8.

Like their QMJHL counterparts, all WHL groups are set up to play solely within their divisions. That indicates the five American-based groups in the WHL will not need to cross the border.

The OHL revealed Thursday it prepares to begin the season on Feb. 4. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season started earlier this month, but the schedule has actually been impacted by several COVID-19 outbreaks as well as provincial government constraints. Like their QMJHL counterparts, all WHL teams are set up to play exclusively within their divisions.


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