GOJHL Gets Official Approval To Begin Play
Announced today, The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) has received approval from the Ontario Hockey Federation to proceed with 5-on-5 Modified Playing Rules for the 2020-2021 hockey season. Moving forward, the official start date for the season is set for January 15th, 2021, dependent on regional Public Health approval.
Over the past four months, the GOJHL has worked with government officials, public health units and arena facilities to ensure a safe return to play for players, staff, officials, volunteers and fans attending games. With today’s announcement and approval of the League’s 5-on-5 regulations for the 2020-21 season the 24 GOJHL teams can prepare for a January 15th, 2021 start date, subject to regional Public Health guidelines and Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.
“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 would like to thank all facilities and public health units for their cooperation and dedication towards understanding the needs of our GOJHL teams as we organize our return to play.”
Official game schedules will be released pending the ever-changing scenarios evolving around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Teams will compete involving separate cohort brackets within their conferences based on a structure that will see clubs only play against one other team during the set time frame. Teams will play in a 3-week cycle and will take a 14-day isolation break to exchange cohorts.
The approved 5-on-5 gameplay regulations include most traditional aspects of gameplay. From an enhanced player safety perspective, the approved 5-on-5 regulations 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, dependent on variable COVID-19 guidelines and regulations, is scheduled to conclude at the end of March 2021, with the 87th Sutherland Cup being awarded no later than June 2021.
While most arenas set to host GOJHL games do not permit guest attendance at this time, dedicated fans will be able to follow their favourite team on Hockey TV and through local area programming.
“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 2020-21 season,” said Tuck.
For more information, visit https://www.gojhl.ca/.