Hamilton Bulldogs will have Colts ride into town for OHL season opener

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Published June 28, 2021 at 10:35 pm

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The Hamilton Bulldogs will play their first game at FirstOntario Centre on Oct. 9, exactly 83 weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic paused their Ontario Hockey League competition.

The OHL announced the home openers on Monday for all 20 league teams, as a tease of the full schedule announcement on Tuesday. The Bulldogs will welcome the Barrie Colts to Hamilton for their home opener on Thanksgiving weekend.

The puck will drop on the OHL’s 680-game regular season schedule on Thursday, Oct. 7.

The OHL cancelled its 2020-21 season because of provincial health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the only one among the three circuits in the Canadian Hockey League that did not play any games.

The Western Hockey League split into quadrants and only played a regular season. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League divided into thirds and completed a playoff, with the Victoriaville Tigres winning the league championship.

The return to play will start a little later than normal. The OHL, which is a professional-environment development league for players aged 16 to 20, typically begins its regular season around Sept. 20. There have also been reports online that the league might ease back into competition with an essentially conference-only schedule, with some limited competition between traditional interconference rivals (Barrie-Owen Sound, Erie-Niagara, and Sault Ste. Marie-Sudbury).

The Bulldogs last played on March 7, 2020, in an 8-6 defeat against the Saginaw Spirit.

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