The Ontario Hockey League will follow scientific studies' direction to form its return plan despite the Ontario provincial government mandating that bodychecking won't take place in sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"If there’s studies that really, clearly state that body contact is a contributor to the spread of the virus, then obviously we’ll have to look at it," OHL commissioner David Branch said Friday, according to Sportsnet. "But we’ve not looked at it yet."
Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's minister of sport, believes removing purposeful contact is necessary to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. The QMJHL, which has already seen several outbreaks, influenced her decision.
"Our public health officials have been clear," MacLeod said Friday. "Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports is not permitted. We will continue to work with (the OHL) on a safe return to play.”
The OHL announced Thursday it plans to run a shortened 40-game season beginning Feb. 4.