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Oil Barons will return to play next month as AJHL given the green light

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons celebrate a goal scored by Michael Hodge in November 2019/Dan Lines Photography

FORT MCMURRAY (660 NEWS) – The Fort McMurray Oil Barons will return to the ice as the Alberta Junior Hockey League has officially been given the green light to restart the 2020-2021 season.

Players, coaches, and staff across the league are now self-isolating ahead of Training Camp, which will get underway next month. Games will begin shortly after and will be played on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through May. A schedule is forthcoming.

“We are grateful for the guidance provided by Alberta Health Services and our Chief Medical Officer in developing the protocols required to safely resume the season for our athletes,” said AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk in a news release.  “Thank you to the Government of Alberta for the opportunity to allow our athletes to develop and excel here in Alberta, and to all 15 AJHL teams for the significant dedication to your players and communities across the province.”

Under a comprehensive Return to Play Plan, rigorous COVID-19 protocols will need to be followed, including daily screening and weekly testing for the virus.

Due to current provincial restrictions, spectators will not be allowed at the games.

The AJHL played more than 80 games before the season was put on pause. The Oil Barons have been busy signing players for the 2021-2022 season including local goaltender Gabe Gratton as well as four forwards: Aidyn Hutchinson, Joel Mabin, Ryder Matter, and Matthew Schulmeister.