Kitchener Rangers' training camp delayed as OHL postpones season
KITCHENER -- The Kitchener Rangers' training camp has been delayed once again as the Ontario Hockey League further postpones the start of a new season.
Camps were supposed to start mid-January, before the puck dropped on a new season on Feb. 4.
But, the OHL announced on Wednesday that things are on hold, with no new proposed start date at this time.
"We know that this is difficult news for many of our players, fans, billets, parents, staff and teams," OHL Commissioner David Branch said in a statement. "However, the restrictions both provincially in Ontario, as well as nationally with regards to cross-border travel, have informed our decision."
Rangers’ management say they’ll still have to prepare.
"Until we get notice that the season isn't cancelled, we will continue to prepare for whatever start date we are given," Rangers CEO Joe Birch said.
Team management said players will be expected to stay in shape during the provincial lockdown. Birch said the players won't be able to access their gym, so they'll need to train on their own time.
"We have Zoom meetings regularly with the players and are in constant communication with them," Birch said.
"It's not just the spread of COVID, it's also the strain that the virus puts on our health system," TSN analyst and scout Craig Button said.
Button is currently in the World Junior Hockey Championship bubble in Edmonton and said the decision by the OHL isn't a surprise.
"It's not just the testing and the resources," he said. "There's also other costs when you're working with the provincial health authorities. That's significant in the OHL, they just don't have those types of financial resources."
Button said young players should stay optimistic despite the postponed season.
"Keep your eye on the future and on the things that are under your control, that would be my emphasis right now with all the young players," he said.