The Ontario Hockey League, one of Canada's top prospect pipelines to the NHL, will ban bodychecking during its next season to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Ontario minister of sport Lisa MacLeod confirmed the decision to the Canadian Press on Friday, calling it a necessary step to keep players safe. MacLeod added the decision was influenced by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, another NHL pipeline, which endured several outbreaks already this fall.
The OHL is scheduled to begin a shortened season on Feb. 4, 2021.
Comprised of 20 teams boasting players ranging in age from 16 to 21 years old, the OHL has helped launch the careers of some of the most notable NHLers, including Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Jordan Staal, Andrei Svechnikov, Matthew Tkachuk, Gabriel Landeskog, Tyler Seguin, Connor McDavid, Taylor Hall and Steven Stamkos.