OHL announces start target date of Feb. 4

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The Ontario Hockey League announced a 40-game regionalized 2020-21 season is targeted to begin Feb. 4, 2021.

Training camps are scheduled to open Jan. 23 with the regular season running through May 8. Teams will play opponents from their geographic region to reduce travel in consideration of the health and safety of players and staff. Details about the structure of team alignment will be released with the announcement of the regular-season schedule.

“Although we are eager to get back on the ice, the safety and well-being of our players, staff, officials, tremendous fans and communities remains paramount,” OHL Commissioner David Branch said. “We remain committed to providing our players with a safe, first-class development experience as they pursue their professional and academic goals, and we look forward to the planned opening of our regular season on Thursday, February 4.”

Eight teams will qualify for the 2021 OHL playoffs beginning May 11 with a best-of-5 opening round followed by two best-of-7 series to determine a league champion by no later than June 14. Champions of the Canadian Hockey League’s three member leagues, the OHL, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League, will compete in the 2021 Memorial Cup in either Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie starting June 17.

The QMJHL began its season Oct. 8; The WHL is scheduled to begin play Jan. 8.

The American Hockey League, the top development league for the NHL, has targeted Feb. 5, 2021, as its start date for the 2020-21 season, with further details to be determined.

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