Jr. C hockey aims to return to ice in December

Jr. C hockey in the National Capital Junior Hockey League returns this December, or earlier. Pictured above, Morrisburg Lions forward Justice Brownlee scores against West Carleton Inferno goalie Alex Miolta during the 2019-20 season. – File photo

SOUTH DUNDAS – As youth hockey begins to open for the fall and winter seasons, the National Capital Junior Hockey League is planning to start its season December 1st.

League officials said that all 10 teams in the league met on August 17th to discuss the 2020-21 season.

“All 10 teams expressed their intention to return to active participation in the league,” the NCJHL said in a statement.

Provincial return to play guidelines restrict hockey to up to four-on-four play with no contact and only scrimmage play. There are also limits on the number of players allowed and game attendance. NCJHL teams rely on ticket sales to help generate operating revenue.

The league is awaiting an updated return-to-play plan from the Ontario government and Hockey Canada to allow the regular season to begin.

Local NCJHL clubs, the Morrisburg Lions and North Dundas Rockets (Chesterville) have not released any details on when their training camps and tryouts will open.

The South Grenville Rangers are currently holding weekly skills sessions for Under-16, Under-18 and eligible Jr. C players in accordance with Hockey Canada and local municipal guidelines. The club is operating out of its home at the Ingredion Centre in Cardinal.

Rangers GM Lucas Stitt told The Leader that beginning in October, the club will also be running an evaluation league at the arena until the season starts. More details on that will be released later in September.

The league stated that while its member clubs are hopeful that the season can begin on December 1st, if revised guidelines allow for an earlier start than that, the league is prepared to do so.

“Our  main concern always has been, and will continue to be, the health  safety of our players, staff, officials and fans.”

The 2019-20 NCJHL season was cut short during the second round of the playoffs. The Rangers led the Gatineau Hull-Volant 2-0 in their playoff semi-final series, while the Rockets led their semi-final series 2-0 against the Bytown Royals.

No playoff champion was crowned for the season as all hockey activity was cancelled by Hockey Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Grenville won the regular season with a 29-4-1 record. Morrisburg finished in 10th place in the league with a 4-29-1 record.

Power play goal for McGonegal – South Grenville Rangers’ forward Jacob McGonegal (center, #75) chips this power play goal past North Dundas Rockets goalie Seb Moreau during their first tilt of the 2019-20 season in November, 2019. – File photo

*Editor’s Note – This story has been updated with information on the South Grenville Rangers’ ongoing camp.

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