London Knights’ Christian Dvorak checks Guelph Storm’s Robby Fabbri into the boards during second period action in Game 6 of the Memorial Cup CHL hockey tournament, in London, Ont., Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is leaving the door open for bodychecking to remain in the Ontario Hockey League for their upcoming season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

London Knights’ Christian Dvorak checks Guelph Storm’s Robby Fabbri into the boards during second period action in Game 6 of the Memorial Cup CHL hockey tournament, in London, Ont., Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is leaving the door open for bodychecking to remain in the Ontario Hockey League for their upcoming season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he hopes OHL can return with bodychecking

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford is leaving the door open for bodychecking to remain in the Ontario Hockey League for the upcoming season.

Ford tweeted Saturday night that he is working on a return to play plan with the OHL that would involve physical contact. He acknowledged that the plan would need to be approved by health experts.

This comes one day after Ontario’s minister of sport, Lisa MacLeod, said bodychecking would not be allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic in a speech delivered to the Empire Club of Canada.

The minister says the decision to ban bodychecking came after outbreaks in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, which led to games being postponed and rescheduled.

Ford says he would like the OHL to return with rules as close to normal as possible.

The QMJHL is the lone league of the three major junior leagues in action. However, eight of the 18 teams aren’t allowed on the ice currently because of Quebec government restrictions.

The OHL plans to start its shortened season Feb. 4.

The Western Hockey League hopes to get going in early January.

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