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Ontario mulls how all-Canadian division in NHL might work

Ontario mulls how all-Canadian division in NHL might work

TORONTO (AP) — Ontario’s minister of sport says the provincial government is examining how a Canadian division in the NHL might work.

Lisa MacLeod says discussions about the league’s return-to-play plan are being studied by Ontario public health authorities, the province’s chief medical officer of health and officials from Toronto and Ottawa.

She says she expects to join those conversations in the next few days, as will federal counterpart Steven Guilbeault.

There has been talk of a possible realignment for the upcoming season. One option could feature a seven-team all-Canadian division with no cross-border travel.

The league has targeted mid-January as a potential start date.

However, the Ontario Hospital Association on Thursday asked the Ontario government for a strict four-week lockdown in regions with high rates of COVID-19 positivity that would include Toronto and Ottawa, the two Ontario cities with NHL teams.

Also, the mayors of Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario, said Wednesday they want a strict four-week lockdown to begin over the winter holidays to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the Toronto area.

Ontario reported a single-day record of 2,432 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, and 23 new deaths due to the virus.