As the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) gears up to begin its season in February 2021, commissioner David Branch has declared “if there’s studies that really, clearly state that body contact is a contributor to the spread of the virus, then obviously we’ll have to look at it. But we’ve not looked at it yet.”
In stark contrast, Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's minister of sport, already believes that removing purposeful contact is necessary to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
The London Free Press reports that “Premier Doug Ford benched one of his own cabinet ministers late Saturday, declaring his support for an Ontario Hockey League season with body contact — the opposite of what Lisa MacLeod called for one day prior.”
This may be the only time Ontario Premier Doug Ford has pushed back against the health experts — not for the sake of struggling small businesses, or for young children wearing masks all day in school, but for the sake of HOCKEY! Because, Canada.
I went to Iroquois Park and Sports Centre in Whitby, Ontario to ask coaches, players and parents: is contact during hockey purposeful, or does it just happen as a natural flow of the game? And are people really scared of that few seconds of contact as a contributing factor in viral spread?
Have a listen, and find out what people who know the game of hockey had to say.