SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced late Thursday evening that its modified 2020-21 regular season will commence on Friday as the Espanola Express host the French River Rapids in a 7:30 p.m. start at the Regional Recreation Complex.
Listed below are a number of plans of action and protocols that are presently in place to assist in beginning the campaign.
SCHEDULE: The NOJHL looks to have a minimum 30-game regular season slate that will be played in monthly increments, with current match-ups only scheduled through the end of November.
Games through December and beyond will be released depending on the ever-changing scenarios revolving around the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
TEAMS: For November, eight teams will compete, involving four separate brackets where the clubs will only play against one other side during the time frame.
This includes Espanola – French River; Soo Thunderbirds – Blind River Beavers; Cochrane Crunch – Hearst Lumberjacks as well as the Timmins Rock – Rayside-Balfour Canadians.
As for league-member Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, they continue to work diligently with local health officials and the community in an effort to return to game action as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
Meanwhile, the Powassan Voodoos are presently not in a position to compete due to current arena restrictions in the municipality.
Also, with the continued closure of the Canada/US border, the Soo Eagles will not be able to take to the ice for league games until such a time where travel and health restrictions are lifted.
The NOJHL’s 12th member-club, the Elliot Lake Wildcats, had earlier taken a one-year leave of absence and will not participate in 2020-21.
“The NOJHL fully supports each of the communities and their extensive efforts in dealing with this pandemic,” offered NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca.
“We are in an ever-fluctuating scenario here and things are changing daily,” added the commissioner.
“Constant communication and guidance from everyone involved, including the provincial, regional and municipal health authorities, along with our hockey clubs and member partners and our communities have been and remain diligent as we all look to bring a safe return to on-ice action.”
Mazzuca went on to provide: “These are trying times for everyone and we strongly believe all the current restrictions and protocols that are currently in place are making it safer for everyone, be it at the various league venues and each of the respective communities.”
“I personally would like to thank our teams, players, staff members, officials, fans and everyone associated with the NOJHL for their dedication and vigilance during these trying times. Best of luck to all as we begin another season of NOJHL hockey. Stay Safe!”
PROTOCOLS: The NOJHL regular season protocols are in alignment with Hockey Canada’s Return to Hockey Safety Guidelines and the Ontario Hockey Federation/Northern Ontario Hockey Association’s Return to Hockey Plan, which focuses intently on the safety and well-being of all participants and spectators.
Arena capacity limits, social distancing protocols within the facility, and the ticket sales process will be dictated by the regulations within each community and the respective teams.
No NOJHL League Passes will be accepted for entry, including all CJHL accreditation, until such time that facility capacity limits are significantly increased.
HOCKEYTV: While in-person attendance will be strictly limited, all games are scheduled to be streamed live and on demand via the NOJHL’s Official Streaming Partner, HockeyTV.
Annual passes are presently available to all NOJHL fans at an $80-discount, through each club.
Fans can sign up and register by clicking on the HockeyTV Promotion link on NOJHL member-team websites or by visiting HockeyTV.com.
|2020-21 NOJHL REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE (NOVEMBER)|
|GAME NO.||DATE||VISITOR||HOME||GAME TIME||VENUE|
|1||Friday, Nov. 13||French River||Espanola||7:30 p.m.||Regional Recreation Complex|
|2||Saturday, Nov. 14||Blind River||Soo||7 p.m.||John Rhodes|
|3||Saturday, Nov. 14||Espanola||French River||7 p.m.||Noelville Community Centre|
|4||Saturday, Nov. 14||Hearst||Cochrane||7 p.m.||Tim Horton Events Centre|
|5||Sunday, Nov. 15||Soo||Blind River||2 p.m.||Blind River Community Centre|
|6||Sunday, Nov. 15||Cochrane||Hearst||4 p.m.||Claude Larose Arena|
|7||Sunday, Nov. 15||Timmins||Rayside-Balfour||6:30 p.m.||Chelmsford Arena|
|8||Thursday, Nov. 19||Timmins||Rayside-Balfour||7 p.m.||Chelmsford Arena|
|9||Friday, Nov. 20||Blind River||Soo||7 p.m.||John Rhodes|
|10||Friday, Nov. 20||Cochrane||Hearst||7 p.m.||Claude Larose Arena|
|11||Friday, Nov. 20||French River||Espanola||7:30 p.m.||Regional Recreation Complex|
|12||Saturday, Nov. 21||Hearst||Cochrane||7 p.m.||Tim Horton Events Centre|
|13||Saturday, Nov. 21||Soo||Blind River||7 p.m.||Blind River Community Centre|
|14||Saturday, Nov. 21||Rayside-Balfour||Timmins||8:30 p.m.||McIntyre Arena|
|15||Sunday, Nov. 22||French River||Espanola||2 p.m.||Regional Recreation Complex|
|16||Sunday, Nov. 22||Cochrane||Hearst||4 p.m.||Claude Larose Arena|
|17||Sunday, Nov. 22||Rayside-Balfour||Timmins||8:30 p.m.||McIntyre Arena|
|18||Thursday, Nov. 26||Timmins||Rayside-Balfour||7 p.m.||Chelmsford Arena|
|19||Friday, Nov. 27||Espanola||French River||7 p.m.||Noelville Community Centre|
|20||Saturday, Nov. 28||Espanola||French River||7 p.m.||Noelville Community Centre|
|21||Saturday, Nov. 28||Hearst||Cochrane||7 p.m.||Tim Horton Events Centre|
|22||Saturday, Nov. 28||Blind River||Soo||7 p.m.||John Rhodes|
|23||Saturday, Nov. 28||Rayside-Balfour||Timmins||8:30 p.m.||McIntyre Arena|