As 2020 has moved into 2021, the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League has confirmed key components relative to a poised resumption of play for the ’20-21 campaign.
Notably, any return to activity is based on upcoming decisions by the Province of Ontario and the multiple regional public health units as they relate to the current COVID-19 lock down that is slated to end in northern Ontario on January 9, which is one week from today.
Meanwhile, the Powassan Voodoos have requested — and been granted permission — for a leave of absence for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season due to ongoing issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Voodoos had yet to begin regular season play.
Of note, players who are currently the property of Powassan will be dispersed in accordance to NOJHL by-laws, which will render them the opportunity to potentially join other league teams for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season.
Also, as the Canada/United States border remains closed for non-essential travel, the Michigan Soo Eagles continue to be unable to participate in league play.
In other developments:
• The regular January 10 roster cut-down date for junior-aged players in Canada has now been extended to February 25.
• If given the go-ahead, the January cohorts for NOJHL teams this month will be as follows.
— Soo Thunderbirds v. Rayside-Balfour Canadians
— Blind River Beavers v. French River Rapids
— Timmins Rock v. Cochrane Crunch
— Hearst Lumberjacks v. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Thus, with the odd number of active teams, the Espanola Express will sit out play in January but will return in February.