QMJHL calls off games until January due to pandemic-related issues

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League says it will not hold any games until early January because of COVID-19 issues.

The major junior league announced Monday it will suspend all activities from Tuesday through Jan. 3.

The 18-team league league has been forced to postpone games regularly in Quebec and Atlantic Canada since starting the season in early October because of COVID-19 restrictions in the four provinces where it operates.

Several teams in Quebec relocated to Quebec City for multiple games because of restrictions earlier in November.

The temporarily dismantling of the so-called Atlantic bubble last week also prevented games from being played in the six-team Maritimes Division. The league has three teams in New Brunswick, two in Nova Scotia and one in Prince Edward Island.

The QMJHL was the only one of three Canadian major junior leagues to open play around its normal start date.

The Western Hockey League has said it plans to start the season in January, while the Ontario Hockey League has targeted February.

“The current situation with the pandemic in the regions in which we operate makes it extremely difficult to play games,” QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau said in a statement. “With the holidays just around the corner, the provinces in the Maritimes have restricted access and travel, while red zone restrictions in Quebec do not permit us to play.”

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