QMJHL to start 2016-17 season at later date

Simon Bourque of the Rimouski Oceanic. (via QMJHL)

MONTREAL — The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will start next season later than usual in a bid to boost attendance.

The league’s board of governors voted Thursday to start the 2016-17 regular season on Sept. 22, which is 12 days later than this season began. Training camps will open Aug. 17 instead of Aug. 7.

A league spokesman said the change allows star players to return from National Hockey League training camps in time for the start of the season. The league also did not want to compete with the World Cup of Hockey in September.

Some teams also wanted the move because attendance tends to be low early in the season when the weather is warm.

The move brings the QMJHL in line with the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League schedules. Each team will still play 68 regular season games.