QMJHL facing serious COVID-19 challenges after positive test, government restrictions
Two teams in danger of being shut down for a month
After just one weekend of play, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is facing two significant COVID-19 issues.
The league announced Monday that the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and Sherbooke Phoenix have suspended all in-person team activities after an Armada player tested positive for COVID-19. The Armada and Phoenix played twice this past weekend.
The league says players and staff for both teams will now be isolated and tested as public health official explore the nature of all contacts between players and staff.
Meanwhile, the Armada and Remparts are in danger of not being able to practise or play games this month under new rules announced Monday by the Quebec government.
The government announced that team sports are among the activities being barred in Quebec’s COVID-19 “red zones,” which include the greater Montreal area and Quebec City. That affects the Remparts and the Armada, who are based in suburban Montreal.
The QMJHL expressed disappointment with the government’s decision in a statement released Monday and said it will share additional safety measures for the Armada and Remparts with Quebec public health officials over the next few days.
The government’s ruling could affect five home games and three away games for Quebec and four home games and four away games for Blainville-Boisbriand this month.
A QMJHL spokesman said the league is in discussions with Dr. Richard Masse of the province’s public health department.
The 2020-21 QMJHL season started last week. Its next games are scheduled for Friday night.
The QMJHL is the only one of three Canadian major-junior hockey leagues to start play this season. The Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League are hoping to start in December.