NOJHL has passed COVID test


Randy Russon
By
February 2, 2021
Blind River Beavers at Rayside Balfour Canadians, in NOJHL action from December. (photo by Caleigh Fera)

If a tried, tested and true track record stands up — as it should — then the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League should be cleared for a return to the ice once the provincial government lifts its lock down and stay at home edict.

Under the careful, calculated leadership of NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca, the league managed to play 41 of the 44 games that were scheduled between Nov. 13 and Dec. 22.

The only three games not played were as a result of precautionary measures taken by the NOJHL. And it is worth noting that not one team official or player tested positive for COVID-19.

It is also worth noting that no other junior league in Ontario was able to come close to the NOJHL’s record of performance relative to COVID-19 and the number of games played during the 2020 portion of the ’20-21 regular season.

The NOJHL also managed to switch cohort opponents from November to December.

Play began in November with home-and-home series of games featuring French River Rapids v. Espanola Express, Blind River Beavers v. Soo Thunderbirds, Rayside Balfour Canadians v. Timmins Rock and Hearst Lumberjacks v. Cochrane Crunch. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners sat out as the ninth team.

Over to December, series match-ups were Espanola v. the Soo, Blind River v. Rayside Balfour, Hearst v. Timmins and Cochrane v. Kirkland Lake. French River sat out as the ninth team.

In the West Division, Espanola (4-4-2) and Rayside Balfour (3-6-1) have both played 10 games, Blind River (5-3-0) and the Soo (4-3-1) have seen action in eight outings apiece, while French River (3-3-0) has skated in six contests.

And in the East Division, Timmins (9-3-0) and (7-5-0) have both played 12 games, Cochrane (3-6-2) has been involved in 11 outings and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (3-2-0) has skated in six matches.

When play resumes in the 2021 portion of the schedule, slated opponents are the Soo v. Rayside Balfour, Blind River v. French River, Timmins v. Cochrane and Hearst v. Kirkland Lake. Espanola is scheduled to sit out as the ninth team.

MAZZUCA ON THE HOCKEY NORTH SHOW

Tune in for this week’s edition of the Hockey North Show on Eagle 95.1 Radio on Wednesday at 5:00 as NOJHL commissioner Rob Mazzuca will join me via telephone hookup. The show is also available on line via http://EagleRadio951.com


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