Ontario Premier Doug Ford is leaving the door open for body verification to remain in the Ontario Hockey League for the next season.
Ford tweeted on Saturday night that he is working on a return to game plan with OHL that would involve physical contact. He acknowledged that the plan would need to be approved by health experts.
We are engaged with @OHLHockey to create a return to safe gambling plan, which will need to be approved by the specialist health department. So far no decision has been made. I would like to see the return of OHL as normal as possible with the body check.
This came a day after Ontario sports minister Lisa MacLeod said that body verification would not be allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic in a speech given at the Empire Club of Canada.
The minister said the decision to ban bodycheck came after outbreaks in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which led to games being postponed and rescheduled.
WATCH | Sports Minister Lisa MacLeod on body verification at OHL:
Ford says he would like the OHL to come back with rules as close to normal as possible.
The QMJHL is the only league in the top three junior leagues in action. However, eight of the 18 teams are not allowed on ice today because of the Quebec government’s restrictions.
The OHL plans to start its reduced season on February 4.
The Western Hockey League hopes to start in early January.