OHL To Remove Bodychecking, Physical Contact For Play This Season

Photo: Matt Hiscox

Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries announced this week that body contact may not be permitted in 2020-2021.

Lisa MacLeod said steps have to be taken by the OHL — or any sporting organization in the province — to slow the spread of COVID-19, including removing close physical contact among players.

“It would be safe to say that body contact, unless it’s incremental, will not be permitted as a result of COVID-19,” said MacLeod. “That would pose a challenge in terms of how they amend their play.”

The need to remove close and physical contact at this time is well understood. How the game of hockey implements changes to adhere to those principles is much less understood. It will be interesting to follow the league and see how this transpires.

In addition, there are other sizeable hurdles to be cleared for the OHL to return to play.

Three of its teams are in the United States — Flint (Mich.) Firebirds, Saginaw (Mich.) Spirit, and Erie (Pa.) Otters — and having them cross the border are currently not permitted.

Also, according to the CBC, two of the OHL teams — the Ottawa 67’s and Mississauga Steelheads — are in “hot zone” parts of Ontario, where the second wave is at its worse.

In other CHL news, earlier this week the QMJHL voted to change their rules for fighting in order to receive $20 million in pandemic relief funds from the Quebec Government. Representatives from the league’s 18 teams in Quebec and the Maritimes voted on the new rules in a video conference last Wednesday.

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 OHL To Remove Bodychecking, Physical Contact For Play This Season

  1. hockeydruid says:

    Frankly this is a waste of time as it will make good players look great and average players look good and hurt both the D and goalies. Such a waste of a season doing it this way.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Agree, Druid, seems like a pipe dream. I mean, how would you do face offs and be socially distant?

      • hockeydruid says:

        LMAO……they will do alternate possession. In sports hockey, football and basketball I see no way to social distance and have a game that means anything. Baseball possible but have the situation at home plate with the batter/catcher and at first. I wonder if the problems you see football having, either pros or college, are due tp players going out to parties or other places rather than playing the game. If it was from playing the game then both teams and all the players would get sick, so it had to be something other than the game. Their solution reminds me of the participation trophies they used to give out so kids didnt feel bad.

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