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GTHL postpones play until January 2021 due to COVID-19 spike

Greater Toronto Hockey League

The largest minor hockey league in the world says it won’t be on the ice until 2021 at the earliest.

The Greater Toronto Hockey League says due to the rapid rise in COVID-19 infections in the GTA, all sanctioned activities within its jurisdiction have been postponed until January 1, 2021.

The decision affects more than 40,000 registered players in Mississauga, Toronto, Markham and Vaughan.

The GTHL was set to hit the ice October 7 after developing a framework for a return to play in consultation with public health officials and the province’s Return to Sport Guidelines.

“There are no easy answers during a pandemic,” said GTHL President Don West. “GTHL organizational volunteers and staff have been working hard at creating the safest possible environment but given the current situation, it is time for us to pause for the safety of the players and their families.”

The GTHL says all sanctioned on-ice and off-ice activities for all levels of minor hockey, including house league, are being suspended until further notice.

The province reported 653 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, one day after reporting an all-time high of 732 new cases. However, provincial health officials say the spike in new cases is partly due to an ongoing data review which has added cases from earlier this year to the tally.

The majority of the new cases continue to be in Toronto and Peel Region.

On Friday, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, called for a month long pause in indoor activities for recreation and sports teams to try and slow the spike in new cases.