Junior B and junior A hockey leagues announce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy
All players and staff within Eastern Ontario’s junior A and junior B hockey leagues will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The CCHL (junior A) released a statement recently saying, “The Board of Governors of the Central Canada Hockey League voted unanimously to require all participating players and team personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the 2021-22 season.”
Commissioner Kevin Abrams added, “The last 18 months have been challenging to say the least, but with the excellent progress in Ontario and vaccination rates above most provinces and other countries, the board felt compelled to ensure the safety and protection of its participants.”
From the league statement: “Teams will continue to work closely with their local facilities, municipalities, and health units, and follow all community guidelines.”
The CCHL 2021-22 regular season is set to start on September 23.
As for junior B hockey, the EOJHL announced that “all players, coaches, and team management will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the start of the 2021-22 season.”
EOJHL director of hockey operations Rebecca Dow stated, “We, as the executive, feel this decision will allow us to keep the players, staff, and their families as safe and as protected as possible with the hopes of maintaining a full schedule for the 2021-2022 EOJHL season, adding, “Although we are a hockey league, we need to keep our players’ health and safety at the forefront of our priorities.”
Regular-season play is scheduled to begin on September 30.
Both leagues saw restricted action last winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at times limited to team training while at other points teams were permitted scrimmage action against one other club.
The plan for 2021-22 is a return to traditional hockey and a regular schedule.
As for spectators, according to Derick Viau, general manager of the junior B Alexandria Glens, there will be no requirement for them to prove they are vaccinated.
Some sports facilities across the country, notably professional clubs, are requiring all attendees to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
Locally, however, fans will be required to wear a face mask and adhere to other COVID-19 health and safety guidelines set by local health authorities and the provincial government.