'Cruel realities of COVID-19': No play for London Knights as season gets cancelled
The London Knights were knocked off their 17-game playoff winning streak when the Windsor Spitfires beat them in game one of the series.
LONDON, ONT. -- The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another sports season as the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) announced Tuesday they are cancelling the 2020-21 season.
The news means that local teams such as the London Knights, Sarnia Sting, Windsor Spitfires, Owen Sound Attack, and the rest of the league will have to wait until next year to hit the ice.
“We owe it to our players and their families to be definitive. We were committed to return and play this season, but our hopes and desires have been dashed by the cruel realities of COVID-19,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch in a release.
As recently as March 26 CTV News London reported that the season was still a possibility, but since then a province wide stay-at-home was issued amidst surging COVID-19 cases.
That spelled the end for the season.
The OHL revealed that earlier this month they had reached an agreement on a Return to Play plan for the league, but the extended order is what sealed the deal on cancelling the season.
The news doesn’t just affect the players, coaches and fans.
The league supports 327 full-time jobs across all teams and offices, with an additional 831 part-time jobs.
It’s also a blow to local restaurants and bars such as those along Richmond Row even as they operate under tight restrictions themselves.
The League estimates that it has a direct financial impact of over $126 million and an indirect impact of over $265 million on the Ontario economy.