With training camps on the horizon, the Ontario Hockey League has announced additional health and safety protocols in advance of the new season.
On Friday afternoon, the league released an expanded vaccination policy that will kick in when the regular season opens on Oct. 7.
The policy now covers all spectators and other attendees at all OHL events, including games and practices.
“Those wishing to gain access to OHL facilities of the 17 Ontario based teams will be required to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and follow any other safety protocols while in the facility,” the league statement said. “Children under the age of 12 will be required to be accompanied and supervised by a fully vaccinated adult and will be required to follow all safety protocols.”
In late-July, the league issued its initial policy, which required “all OHL community members be vaccinated against COVID-19.”
"This policy applies to all OHL community members, which includes individuals who attend training camp, practices, games or play in the OHL, and specifically includes all players, coaches, trainers, team and league staff, officials, volunteers, and billet families. Billet family members under the permitted age for vaccination by applicable Public Health Agencies are excluded,” the initial league policy said. “This policy is effective immediately, with due regard for the availability of COVID-19 vaccines."
The initial policy also stated that anyone found in violation of the policy could result in OHL staff being placed on unpaid leave “for the duration of the pandemic or until such time that COVID-19 no longer poses a significant public health risk."
All three Canadian Hockey League member leagues have a similar policy in place.
Earlier this week, the Western Hockey League announced its policy, which called for all players, hockey operations staff, and other team and league office personnel to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before the beginning of the regular season on Oct. 1.
The policy applies to general managers, coaches, head scouts or director of player personnel, trainers, equipment managers, on-ice and off-ice consultants, on-ice officials and ice level off-ice officials (penalty box attendants; timekeepers and scorekeepers) and any other individuals who interact directly and on a regular basis with players.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League also issued a similar policy in which players will be required to be vaccinated as well as QMJHL staff who are in regular contact with the players daily and billet families.