To Bodycheck, Or Not To Bodycheck? That Is The Question…In Ontario

Photo: Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press file photo

It all started on Friday afternoon when Ontario’s Minister of Sport, Lisa MacLeod, stated that the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) would not allow bodychecking this coming season. The statement caught many in the hockey world off guard and left others simply puzzled.

Macleod said that removing purposeful physical contact from the game was a necessary step to preventing the spread of COVID-19. She said the decision was influenced by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which had several COVID-19 outbreaks on its teams earlier this fall.

Many in the hockey world were confused by the statement, but more importantly, most wondered how exactly the ruling would be implemented. Can you regulate physical contact in the game of hockey? What about face offs? What about battling for pucks in the corner?

Later that afternoon, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that his sources believed that no decision had been formally reached regarding the removal of bodychecking in the OHL, thus contradicting Macleod’s prior statement.

It took MacLeod all of 12 minutes to rebut Dreger’s statement.

MacLeod also issued her own statement on Twitter less than an hour later, reaffirming her stance on the topic.

So it sounded like that was it. There would be no bodychecking in the OHL this upcoming season. Period.

Not so fast.

On Saturday night the Ontario Premier got in on the Twitter action, stating that he would like to see the OHL return as normal as possible, with bodychecking included.

So where do we stand? Unfortunately, we stand where we do so often, between flexing politicians hurling statements back and forth on Twitter, with nothing really being resolved. Has anything been decided? Nope.

If I’m the Capitals, I’m on the phone to Sweden looking for a spot for Connor McMichael and Martin Hugo Has to play. They are the two Capitals prospects currently assigned to play in the OHL.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see if and how the OHL implements and regulates the ruling. Stay tuned.

In other (more concrete) news, the OHL announced on Thursday that February 4 will be the new start date for the 2020-21 season. Training camps will begin on January 23rd and the season will be shortened to 40 games. European and American players will arrive by January 8 to quarantine and begin preparations for the season.

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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2 Responses to To Bodycheck, Or Not To Bodycheck? That Is The Question…In Ontario

  1. Joe says:

    I have see no evidivdence of this decision being based in reality

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