QMJHL suspends play in Quebec divisions due to COVID-19

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The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has suspended play in its two Quebec-based divisions until at least October 28 due to COVID-19.

The league will continue to play with five of the six teams in the Maritimes Division. The Moncton Wildcats will not play at this time due to the New Brunswick government restrictions in the area.

The league assembly made the decision on Wednesday. The QMJHL plans to reassess the situation in two weeks.

The league says continuing to play in Quebec has become nearly impossible with six of the 12 teams located in red zones, where organized sport is banned.

The league, which opened its season on October 2, experienced outbreaks in two teams last week.

The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada said they had 18 positive tests, while the Sherbrooke Phoenix said they had eight after the two teams met twice on the first weekend of the season. Both teams suspended all activities and went into self-isolation after testing positive.

Earlier last week, the Quebec government announced that the Montreal and Quebec regions were classified as COVID red zones, preventing the Armada and the Remparts de Quebec from playing games.

The positive tests and the announcement of the hot zone led to the postponement of 10 games.

Since then, more red zones have been announced, affecting the play of other teams.

The QMJHL teams have played only within their divisions, which means that the six Maritime clubs remain in the Atlantic bubble.

The QMJHL is the only one of the three Canadian major junior hockey leagues to have opened the game this season. The Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League have said they hope to start in December.

Ontario Sports Minister Lisa MacLeod recently said body contact and control would make it difficult for the provincial government to approve play in the OHL.

The OHL and WHL also have American teams, which creates border issues that should be resolved by the federal government.

All three leagues halted play last season shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic in March. The league playoffs and Memorial Cup were ultimately called off.



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