Premier Ford elbows in on OHL bodychecking debate, says there could be physical contact

The Ontario Hockey League announced Thursday it plans to start a shortened season on Feb. 4

The crash and bang that makes up the good old hockey game could be missing in action when the Ontario Hockey League begins a shortened season on February 4.

Ontario sports minister Lisa MacLeod said Friday that bodychecking won’t be allowed. She said removing purposeful physical contact is a necessity for all sports in the province to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The OHL announced on Thursday that it plans to start a shortened season beginning February 4.

MacLeod said the decision to ban bodychecking was influenced by COVID outbreaks in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

On Saturday night, Premier Doug Ford left the door open for bodychecking to remain in the OHL for the upcoming season.

Ford tweeted that he is working on a return to play plan with the league that would involve physical contact. He acknowledged that the plan would need to be approved by health experts.

The QMJHL season began earlier this month. The schedule has been messed up by several COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Western Hockey League plans to start its season January 8.

Picture: File photo