The Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has just confirmed what Hockey News North had said would happen in a story posted earlier today — a return to play effective this week.
But just seven of the nine NOJHL teams that had been active through November and December of the 2020-2021 season will return to action.
Espanola Express and French River Rapids have finalized an upcoming four game schedule while the Blind River Beavers and Soo Thunderbirds have slated six matches with each other.
Meanwhile, the Timmins Rock and Cochrane Crunch will face off as cohorts.
Notably, due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the Hearst Lumberjacks and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners will not return to play this season.
As for the Rayside-Balfour Canadians, they will remain idle for the time being as the odd team out on the schedule. But as Hockey News North also reported earlier today, the NOJHL hopes to have Rayside Balfour play a series of exhibition games against the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves of the Great North Under 18 Hockey League.
Rayside-Balfour is slated to play NOJHL games against Espanola and French River in a further series of matches come the month of March.
Following is a schedule of upcoming games.
French River Rapids vs. Espanola Express
Tuesday, Feb. 23: 6 p.m. @ French River
Wednesday, Feb. 24: 6 p.m. @ Espanola
Friday, Feb. 26: 7 p.m. @ Espanola
Saturday, Feb. 27: 4 p.m. @ French River
Blind River Beavers vs. Soo Thunderbirds
Wednesday, Feb. 24: 7 p.m. @ Sault Ste. Marie
Friday, Feb. 26: 7 p.m. @ Sault Ste. Marie
Sunday, Feb. 28: 2 p.m. @ Blind River
Tuesday, March 2: 7 p.m. @ Sault Ste. Marie
Saturday, March 6: 2 p.m. @ Blind River
Sunday, March 7: 2 p.m. @ Blind River
Cochrane Crunch vs. Timmins Rock
To be announced.