Major Junior Hockey back in Gatineau with different look
GATINEAU, QC. -- It was not the start the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) had envisioned for its return to the ice.
Just three days into the season, the league announced the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the Sherbrooke Phoenix have suspended all in-person team activities after an Armada player tested positive for COVID-19.
Louis Robitaille, the general manager and coach of the Gatineau Olympiques, says the league is working closely with all levels of government to ensure player and staff safety but, unfortunately, they don’t have the resources of professional leagues like the NHL.
“This situation is out of our control. You know the COVID is there; we are not in a bubble like the NHL,” Robitaille said. “Sadly, it’s something we are doing all those precautions but guys are living with billet families.”
There were no fans in the stands during Friday's home opener for the Olympiques but, despite that, the team scored their 1000th home win in a 3-2 victory over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Fans were encouraged to go to five restaurants in the area to watch the action online. The QMJHL has setup a subscription streaming service for fans who want to see their favorite teams and players in action.
The QMJHL is the first of the three Canadian major junior hockey leagues to resume playing since the pandemic began back in March. The Western Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League are planning to start playing in December.