Tag Archives: OHL

Tighter COVID-19 rules to impact sports in Ottawa, Toronto

The so-called hot spots for COVID-19 cases ā€“ Ottawa, Toronto, and Peel Region ā€“ have seen a number of new restrictions imposed by the provincial government. The new rules affect many aspects of society, including sports, which now will be prohibited from any scrimmages, limited only to training with physical distancing.

Ontario government logo

From the Ford government announcement… “In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Public Health Measures Table, and local medical officers of health and other health experts, the Ontario government is introducing additional targeted public health measures in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions. These modified Stage 2 restrictions will be for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis.”

The new rules, for these regions, will take effect on Saturday, October 10, at 12:01 a.m.

In terms of sports, the rules state, “Limiting team sports to training sessions (no games or scrimmages).”

These three regions will also see social gathering numbers reduced to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, along with the closure of bars/restaurants for indoor service, gyms and fitness centres, gaming establishments, cinemas, performing arts centres, spectator areas at racing facilities, and more.

For the full details, please see the government press release here.

These new measures do not, at this time, apply to our region, remains in the government’s Stage 3 plan.

Earlier this week, MPP Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of heritage, sport, tourism, and culture industries, was quoted in a CBC News story about the provincial government’s plans for hockey, specifically the top junior league, the OHL. In the piece, MacLeod was quoted as stating that the OHL will have to “remove physical contact, including bodychecking, if it’s to have a 2020-21 season.”

According to MacLeod, as quoted in the story, the OHL is not interested in playing under a bubble format as the NHL did for its 2020 playoffs. The OHL had already delayed the new season, tentatively aiming for a December 1 start (unlike Quebec’s major junior hockey league which began regular play this month and has experienced COVID-19 positive cases).

The CBC News story about MacLeod and the OHL further indicated that the provincial government would require the OHL and all sports organizations in Ontario to remove close physical contact amongst players. Also complicating issues for the league is the fact two teams are located in current COVID-19 hot spots, while three other clubs play out of USA cities.

Regarding local junior hockey leagues, the EOJHL (junior ‘B’) has begin team-versus-team scrimmages without body contact, as has the CCHL (junior ‘A’), following the Hockey Eastern Ontario return-to-play policy and its high-performance league guidelines.

The so-called HEO Stage 3(a) allows “our players an opportunity to safely continue their development by participating in modified-for-COVID non-contact game play.” In addition to the CCHL and EOJHL, this applies to the HEO U18 ‘AAA’ and HEO Minor ‘AAA’ leagues.

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Vrbetic shares his off-season goaltender training

Dunvegan’s Joe Vrbetic carried the load between the pipes last season for the OHL’s North Bay Battalion.

Recently, he shared his off-season workout regime, which his team posted online.

The 17-year-old saw action in 42 regular-season games last season, posting a 4.23 goals-against average and a 0.881 save percentage on a Battalion team that ended the 2019-20 campaign in last place of the Eastern Conference (17-41-4-0).

Check out these previous stories about Vrbetic published on this website:

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Parsons finally gets to visit his OHL draft club in Kitchener

With the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, some aspects of hockey life have gone on, while others have stopped or been changed. For a young goaltender from Embrun, the situation over the past few months delayed his visit to his OHL draft club until this week.

The 15-year-old Jackson Parsons, who was picked in the 2020 OHL draft in the third round, 53rd overall, by the Kitchener Rangers. The top junior league in the province held its draft virtually this year, so this recent visit to the team’s home was Parsons’ first opportunity to see their facilities and meet in-person with staff.

Jackson Parsons
Goaltender Jackson Parsons visited the Kitchener Rangers OHL hockey club in person for the first time recently. (Rangers OHL photo)

Since being drafted, he’s connected remotely with coaches. He’s also participated in Hockey Canada sessions online.

The teen backstop spent the 2019-20 season with the U18 Cornwall Colts and the CCHL2 Char-Lan Rebels. For background, see this previously posted story about Parsons.

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OHL-drafted goaltender Parsons works out virtually in Hockey Canada program

Embrun resident, an OHL draft pick of the Kitchener Rangers, Jackson Parsons recently worked out virtually with Hockey Canada and has been invited to the organization’s national U17 development camp, set to begin July 19.

In May, he signed an OHL standard player agreement with the Rangers. Parsons was picked in the OHL Priority Selection draft 53rd overall.

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Jackson Parsons as a goaltender with the U18 Cornwall Colts (photo courtesy of Kitchener Rangers)

The 15-year-old’s junior hockey career began last season, which was split between the U18 Cornwall Colts and the junior ‘B’ Char- Lan Rebels.

The Rangers recently highlighted Parson’s summer on their website, quoting the net minder’s thoughts on his Hockey Canada experience thus far: “All of the important information was made available to us, and it was really valuable. Parsons said. I just looked at the online format as a change. It didn’t necessarily lessen the experience at all.”

Kitchener head coach and general manager Mike McKenzie added, “Every little bit helps, especially with kids at this age, and they learn different things from a lot of people in the hockey world.”

Team staff will be connecting online with all Rangers players, including Parsons, with plans for weekly calls from the coach and “guest speakers.”

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Goaltender Jackson Parsons signs with OHL Kitchener Rangers

A goaltender who split last season with the CCHL2 Char-Lan Rebels and the U18 Cornwall Colts has been signed by the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL.

Jackson Parsons, who calls Embrun home, announced his commitment via his Instagram page.

In a media release, the Rangers, who picked Parsons in the third-round pick (53rd overall) of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, confirmed that the net minder has “signed his Ontario Hockey League standard player agreement.”

The team’s general manager, Mike McKenzie, stated, “Jackson is a quick and athletic goalie that had a very good [2019-20] season. He was a guy that was on our radar as one of the top goalies in the draft, and we were extremely excited to draft him and even more excited to see him sign with our team. We would like to welcome Jackson and his family to the Rangers.”

Parsons is 15 years old (he will turn 16 in November) and checks in at 5 ft. 11 in., 185 lb.

Last season, he played three games with the junior ‘B’ Rebels, recording a 2.79 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. With the U18 Colts, over 23 games, he had a 2.28 GAA and a .929 SVS%.

In the 2017-18 season, he was a member of the ‘AAA’ Eastern Ontario Wild minor bantams (1.96 GAA in 16 games), and during the 2018-19 campaign he was with the CIHA Voyageurs (3.76 GAA over 25 games).

To check out a video of Parsons introducing himself to Kitchener fans, please see this post on the Rangers website.

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Vrbetic backstops Battalion to shutout victory, snapping losing skid

Joe Vrbetic, rookie Ontario Hockey League (OHL) goaltender for the North Bay Battalion, made 41 saves in February 15 action against the Barrie Colts, securing his first-ever shutout in the league, as his team skated to a 4-0 victory and an end to their eight-game slide.

The 17-year-old, who hails from Dunvegan, is currently riding a personal three-game win streak, having followed up by backstopped victories over Mississauga and Ottawa, on February 16 and 20, respectively.

His effort in the shutout win was recognized by the league, with the 6 ft. 6 in, 180 lb. netminder selected to appear in the OHL’s saves of the week. Check out the video highlight package here.

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(OHL North Bay Battalion graphic)

On the season, Vrbetic has a 4.31 goals-against average and a 0.88 save percentage on a team that languishes in the basement of the Eastern Conference (14-38-3-0).

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Vrbetic carries the goaltending load for OHL North Bay Battalion

Dunvegan’s Joe Vrbetic cracked the lineup of the Ontario Hockey League’s North Bay Battalion back in August and hasn’t looked back, called upon as the team’s primary goaltender this season, having played 30 of 42 games to date.

The 17-year-old backstop checks in at 6 ft. 6 in., 180 lb, and has a 4.55 goals-against average and 0.874 save percentage, on a team that sits fifth in the Central Division with 10 wins.

Joe Vrbetic
Joe Vrbetic, a goaltender for the OHL North Bay Battalion, hails from Dunvegan. (OHL / Battalion photo)

He last played on January 18, allowing one goal against, as North Bay skated to a 3-1 victory over the Niagara Ice Dogs. Named the game’s second star, Vrbetic made 28 saves to backstop the win.

The Glengarrian was drafted by the Battalion in 2018, selected in the second round 31st overall. The rookie is backed up by Cameron Lamour who is two years his senior.

Amongst active goaltenders in the OHL this season, Vrbetic ranks 41st in goals-against average and 36th in save percentage. He’s seventh in games played, the only rookie in the top 10. He’s also seventh in minutes (1686) and fifth in shots faced (1015).

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