QMJHL teams in N.S., P.E.I. set to return, teams in N.B. remain sidelined

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s teams in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are set to return to action this week, while the league’s three teams in New Brunswick will continue to sit out.

The QMJHL released a schedule Monday for a series of games between the Cape Breton Eagles, Charlottetown Islanders and Halifax Mooseheads after it said public health officials in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. approved the league’s plans to continue the 2020-2021 regular season.

The schedule begins Friday with a game between Charlottetown and Cape Breton and runs through a Feb. 28 contest between Charlottetown and Cape Breton.

The league said it remains in dialogue with public officials in New Brunswick, which has delayed the return of the Saint John Sea Dogs, Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Moncton Wildcats until the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic in that province improves.

The QMJHL said the schedule can be changed to include its New Brunswick-based teams if the situation changes.

Quebec-based teams in the QMJHL returned to play last week in protected environments in Chicoutimi, Drummondville, Rimouski and Shawinigan. But the league announced last Monday that play in its Maritimes Division was suspended as it continued dialogue with health officials in those provinces.

The QMJHL was the only one of three Canadian major junior leagues to open play around its normal start date this season. But it suspended play Dec. 1.

The 18-team 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 and positive tests.

The Western Hockey League has announced a 24-game season, with a start date yet to be determined.

The Ontario Hockey League has delayed plans to start its season. It had planned to hold training camps this month and open the season Feb. 4.

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