OJHL, PJHL enact vaccination policy ahead of season

The Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Provincial Junior Hockey League is joining with the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League in a vaccination mandate that will require all members be double-vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the commencement of team activities associated with the beginning of the 2021/2022 season.

This policy will apply to all players, coaches, trainers, team and league staff, officials, volunteers and billet families and is fully intended to protect the health and safety of ALL NOJHL, OJHL and PJHL players and members and to protect against the potential transmission of the virus.

In a memo to all teams within the three leagues, the health and safety of all league Community Members was labeled the top priority and, therefore, the purpose of a full vaccination policy is to protect the health withing the leagues and safety of all Community Members by reducing the risk of exposure to and transmission and is “necessary to prevent, respond to, and alleviate the outbreak of COVID-19 in the LEAGUE because of the significant risk factors for COVID-19 infection present while participating in an organized hockey league as a player and non-player, both on and off the ice. These risk factors include close contact in predominantly indoor closed-space environments (i.e. arenas, dressing rooms, buses and hotels etc.).”

“The close contact nature of organized hockey makes compliance with social distancing impossible. In addition, it reduces the effectiveness of other infectious disease transmission protocols such as masking,” the policy states.

The Wellington Dukes are expected to open their OJHL season Friday, Oct. 1 at home against the Mississauga Chargers while Picton will be in Frankford for the Huskies PJHL opener Saturday, Oct. 2