SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that, effective immediately, a three-week pause to its 2021-22 regular season has been put into effect.
The move comes as a result of Monday’s announcement by the Government of Ontario, which has put in place a number of COVID-19-related restrictions, within the province, that are scheduled to commence on Wednesday, Jan. 5, due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
“Despite the limitations being put in place by the province, the NOJHL remains wholly committed to the completion of our regular season, playoffs, and league championship series as well as sending our representative to compete in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A event,” stated NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
“The players, team staffs, game officials and everyone associated with the NOJHL have done a tremendous job following the guidelines put in place, at every level, with hundreds, upon hundreds, of negative COVID-tests coming back as a result, as we remained dutiful of our responsibilities in dealing with the on-going pandemic,” added Mazzuca, who also serves as the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Chair of the Board.
The NOJHL’s regular season had originally been slated to begin the 2022-portion of the campaign later this week.
“Our board of governors, the executive, and our 12 member clubs remain steadfast on planning a number of various scenarios to extend our season and begin a resumption of play, when the go ahead is given and it is safe for us to do so,” provided the commissioner.
Mazzuca went on to add: “We at the league also continue to work closely with each of the local, regional and provincial health units on a proper course of action, so that we our ready on our end, to begin our earliest return to play, when that arises.”
The commissioner also commended its participants and provided to them that the NOJHL looks to do anything in its control to see a safe completion of its campaign.
“We can’t thank the players in our league enough for their dedication, commitment and patience as we work our way through this. They’ve bought in 100% and fully realize the seriousness of the situation. We owe it to them, as well as our loyal fans, to do our part to get them back on the ice as soon as it is safe to do so, once a go ahead has been given.”
The NOJHL will also continue work alongside its fellow provincial CJHL partners, in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL), Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) and the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) throughout the process.
Further updates, including game schedule changes, playoff formats, and other related information, will be released by the NOJHL, once applicable.