In a move that was expected, the Canadian Hockey League and its three regional member leagues – Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior League and the Western Hockey league – have decided to pause play until further notice due to concerns over coronavirus COVID-19.
The announcement came after a 3 p.m. ET meeting between the Commissioners of the three leagues and CHL Commissioner Dan MacKenzie on Thursday, Mar. 12, 2020. A joint press release reads in part:
“The Canadian Hockey League and its three regional leagues, the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Hockey League, take the health and safety of our players, fans, volunteers, staff, and general public very seriously. CHL President Dan MacKenzie with Commissioners David Branch, Gilles Courteau, and Ron Robinson have been monitoring the situation in regards to the coronavirus (COVID-19) including what local, provincial, and federal health agencies have recommended. Following consultation with medical professionals and meetings today among the CHL Executive Council, and Regional League Board of Governors, the CHL announces that the balance of the 2019-20 season and all hockey activities shall be paused immediately until further notice.”
The pause of play will affect the Kingston Frontenacs, who have four of their final six games of the regular season scheduled for the Leon’s Centre. The Frontenac’s are tied with the Niagara Ice Dogs for the 8th and final playoff spot in the OHL Eastern Conference. The Ice Dogs have five games remaining.
Executive Director of Business Operations Justin Chenier released the following statement:
“The health and welfare of our fans and players is paramount to the Kingston Frontenacs. The Ontario Hockey League, like leagues around North America, have decided the best interest of the health and welfare of fans and players is to not continue play, at this point, with the 2019-20 season. With that there are more questions about what’s to come in the future, both with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the playing of sports and gathering of large groups of people, than we have answers.
As per the announcement from the Canadian Hockey League to paused the 2020-21 season until further notice, our final four regular season home games will not play as scheduled:
- Friday, March 13 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
- Saturday, March 14 vs. Ottawa 67’s SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
- Friday, March 20 vs. Oshawa Generals SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
- Sunday, March 22 vs. Peterborough Petes SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
At this time, we do not know the plan for these games as to whether they will be rescheduled or cancelled. Once we know we will communicate that to everyone involved with our games.
We appreciate the support of our fans and understand the uncertainty of customers who have purchased tickets for games that are now not being played as scheduled. We are working to formulate a plan on how to proceed with rescheduled tickets, refunds, and how we move forward, and will provide those answers to our customers as soon as this situation becomes clearer.
We continue to monitor this situation and look to KFL&A Public Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada for the expert guidance through this very fluid and everchanging situation as we follow the lead of the Ontario Hockey League. We will provide updates as they become available and we have had a chance to plan how we proceed. But most importantly, we urge our fans to take every precaution to safeguard their own health and the health of the people around them: stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands, limit the spread of illness, and monitor your health after travelling.”
We will have more on the developments in the days to come in the Kingstonist and on our podcast.
Tim “The Coach” Cunningham has played every sport ever. His inside knowledge can be heard and seen on radio, television and in print across Canada. Follow him on twitter at @TheCoachTC.