QMJHL hopes to return to action with events in four cities next month

MONTREAL — The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League says its 12 Quebec-based teams will resume play next month in Chicoutimi, Drummondville, Rimouski and Shawinigan during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four markets will host Protected Environment events Jan. 22-24.

Chicoutimi, Drummondville and Rimouski will then host events from Jan. 29 to Feb. 6.

Each arena will host one or two games per day with a total of 12 games being played over nine days (six per team).

The league says it hopes its six teams in Atlantic Canada can resume play as soon as Jan. 21.

All regular-season games until Jan. 21 have been postponed.

The QMJHL announced at the end of November it was suspending play from Dec. 1 to Jan. 3.

"This announcement comes after constructive dialogue with Quebec Public Health officials and a positive review of our first event which was held in Quebec City a few weeks ago,'' QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau said in a statement. "The league's priority is to enable our players to play hockey while pursuing their education within the safest possible environments. These types of events became the most effective way to achieve these objectives.''

The QMJHL was the only one of three Canadian major junior leagues to open play around its normal start date this season.

The Western Hockey League has delayed a planned starting date in early January, while the Ontario Hockey League has targeted February to start play.

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