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There Will Be No Bodychecking In The OHL

via the CP at Sportsnet,

The Ontario Hockey League will not have bodychecking this coming season.

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of sport, confirmed the decision on Friday afternoon.

She said that removing purposeful physical contact from the game was a necessary step to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The OHL announced on Thursday that it plans to start a shortened season on Feb. 4.

MacLeod said the decision was influenced by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which had several COVID-19 outbreaks on its teams earlier this fall.

added 6:39pm,

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink




Posted by godblender on 10/30/20 at 02:43 PM ET


I wonder how this will affect next years draft.  How much will this inhibit development?

Posted by ThatGuy on 10/30/20 at 03:52 PM ET

detroitredwings's avatar

Lost season for the boys. Not going to be NHL ready.

Posted by detroitredwings on 10/30/20 at 05:24 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Eww… I fully understand the reasoning. But for players hoping to draft into a serious full contact league, this is not good for development.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 10/30/20 at 05:46 PM ET

TeamDub's avatar

Totally makes sense.

Can’t take that .1% chance, even though driving to the rink is exponentially more dangerous.

Posted by TeamDub from The gratch. on 10/30/20 at 06:29 PM ET


Speaking as someone who is very serious about mask-wearing and distancing and not socializing or eating out at restaurants or bars, all I can say is that this feels like one of the more absurd things I’ve heard in some time.

Now, I could see outlawing scrums—where guys really are face to face, saliva flying, etc., but this? This is certainly not going to stop the spread of the virus.

And speaking as someone who teaches on a college campus and has had to navigate the virus amongst my students (and has thus read a decent amount about all this), it’s become pretty clear how/where this virus is spreading. It’s spreading at parties, it’s spreading in dorm rooms where students aren’t wearing masks. You’re never going to be 100 percent safe with this thing, but it’s pretty clear where and how it’s primarily spreading.

Posted by nosferatu from Albany, NY on 10/30/20 at 06:44 PM ET

Paul's avatar

from Sportsnet,

On Friday, shortly after the Ontario provincial government reaffirmed its stance that bodychecking and deliberate physical contact would not take place during sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic, OHL commissioner David Branch said the league will follow the results of scientific studies in crafting its return-to-play plan, but did not align his position fully with the province’s mandate.

“If there’s studies that really, clearly state that body contact is a contributor to the spread of the virus, then obviously we’ll have to look at it,” Branch said during an appearance on Sportsnet 590 THE FAN’s Writers Bloc. “But we’ve not looked at it yet.”

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of sport, made clear in her Friday announcement solidifying the bodychecking ban, and in subsequent follow-up Tweets on the topic, that the mandate was an important part of playing sport during the COVID-19 era — and was not negotiable.

“Not just in the OHL, not just in hockey in general, but in all sports,” MacLeod said during a speech delivered to the Empire Club of Canada. “We’re in a very serious game right now and the reality is we have to take those public health precautions.”


Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/30/20 at 08:14 PM ET

Alan's avatar

If there’s no bodychecking, what’s the point in dropping the puck on the season to begin with?

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 10/31/20 at 01:10 AM ET

Primis's avatar

If there’s no bodychecking, what’s the point in dropping the puck on the season to begin with?

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 10/31/20 at 02:10 AM ET

The whole point is to probably make the league go “Well, we won’t even bother then”.  We’ve seen this done in several different places here in the U.S. where truly absurd restrictions are put on a sport, so absurd that they 100% know it means they can’t function.  It’s the intent.  They don’t have the cojones to ban it outrght, so they put some ridiculous restrictions on it that force the league/sport itself to be the one to make the decision because then THEY are the ones taking the heat for it.  Political tale as old as time…

However, if the OHL can’t bubble, OHL shouldn’t be playing.  Simple as that.  And that goes for any other sport or league.  If you can’t bubble, it WILL.  NOT.  WORK.

Just look at NCAA football to see what an unmitigated disaster non-bubbled sports is and will remain.  And I don’t know about elsewhere, but HS Football here in Michigan has been a total joke and disaster….

Posted by Primis on 10/31/20 at 07:58 AM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

I could see them mandate full clear plastic face shields instead of cages but checking shouldn’t be more of a concern than regular play. When you checked checked the wind might get forced out more but if you’re playing hard it’s probably about the same regardless.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 10/31/20 at 07:58 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Breathtakingly stupid

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 11/01/20 at 02:14 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Just because you can’t hit someone, doesn’t mean no body contact, I mean the draw is face to face at all three positions? Who makes these rules, scientists whom have never watch 1 minute of hockey? So you take these guys out of checking for a season, and then what, put them back into mixed competition at some point with guys who have been checking, that’s got more potential to be dangerous than the reduced contact on covid they’re trying to achieve.

On one of my adult leagues, they’ve shut the water off, so we can’t fill water bottles or take a shower. I can’t be clean? Where’s the science there?  And because the water is off,  I can’t wash my hands, which I do after I skate normally but definitely do in general before I touch my mask. There is hand sanitizer around.  I also have to walk back through the rink, in the lobby to use the bathroom

Also, because again, its smart and we’re following science, instead of just walking out the main door, the main is for “entering” and we have to walk another 100 yards or so through another rink (indoor) to the “out” door.

What a joke.  This is a very contagious flu, but in the end, its a flu, its not aids.  I just keep saying to myself, in 1 week from Nov 3rd, and we might start using and reporting on actual science, actual probabilities, and reality on the ground.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 11/02/20 at 01:51 PM ET


Hold the phone.  Premier Ford has other ideas.  https://ottawasun.com/sports/hockey/garrioch-not-so-fast-premier-doug-ford-says-he-wants-the-ohl-to-return-with-body-checking

Posted by dwgs on 11/03/20 at 12:15 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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