The QMJHL Becomes First North American Hockey League To Return To Play With Fans In Attendnce

Photo: Acadie-Bathurst

Tuesday night marked yet another milestone in the return of hockey as the QMJHL held their first preseason games for the 2020-21 season. The games marked the first time games were played with fans in the stands in North America since March 13, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The QMJHL is one of three leagues that make up the Canadian Hockey League. The other two leagues, the Western Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League, have announced a new start date of December 4, 2020.

Social distancing guidelines vary among QMJHL clubs. The following guidelines are from the Acadie-Bathurst website, to provide an example of current social distancing guidelines.

The QMJHL will provide a good source of practical information for the NHL when the time comes for the NHL to begin allowing fans to attend games.

As for the format of the start of the 2020-21 NHL season, Major League Baseball and the National Football League will also provide practical guidance for the NHL, as those sports are operating with travel, and playing games in the home team’s arena, but without fans in attendance.

NASCAR and professional golf tours are also currently traveling to event sites each week, and have done an excellent job at preventing COVID-19 outbreaks.

The NHL is currently scheduled to open training camps for the 2020-21 season in mid-November with the season currently scheduled to begin on December 1st, so the league has time to monitor the aforementioned sports and determine what works with regarding to protocols and format.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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3 Responses to The QMJHL Becomes First North American Hockey League To Return To Play With Fans In Attendnce

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    After thinking through this, it appears one would need to circle the arena each time they use the bathroom or the concession stands. Still a good first step.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is also the fact that the “Atlantic bubble” exists in which most of Eastern Canada can travel freely between the Provinces due to exceptionally low Covid numbers. For example in the Titans, WildCats and Sea Dogs home Province of New Brunswick there have been only 192 cases since March and only 2 deaths.

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