Training Camps officially underway in QMJHL
The last time skates hit Canadian Hockey League ice was on March 11 with the final eight games of what would become a cancelled 2019-20 campaign.
172 days later the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League took the first stride towards a return to play with the opening of 2020-21 Training Camps.
No more than 34 players reported to each of the league’s 18 clubs on August 30 with preparations underway for an October 1 regular season.
Check out the names of every player currently attending #QMJHL training camps! 👀
— QMJHL (@QMJHL) August 31, 2020
From fresh ice in arenas to new equipment orders, the excitement of a season despite these unprecedented times has had many of our annual routines.
— Voltigeurs de Drummondville (@VoltigeursDRU) August 19, 2020
Ça prend forme 🤩🤩
— Phœnix de Sherbrooke (@PhoenixSherbroo) August 21, 2020
— Foreurs VD officiel (@ForeursVD) July 30, 2020
There has also been the need to adapt to a new normal with special COVID-19 protocols in place such as mandatory face masks that have certainly given 2020 training camps a new identity.
— ArmadaBLB (@ArmadaBLB) August 30, 2020
— Cape Breton Eagles (@CBEHockey) August 30, 2020
— Halifax Mooseheads (@HFXMooseheads) August 30, 2020
176 jours plus tard, c’est le début du camp d’entraînement ce matin à Québec!🏒
— 🏆 – Remparts de Québec (@quebec_remparts) August 30, 2020
But on the ice is where hockey players are most comfortable and the opportunity to be together as teammates was a welcome opportunity for veterans and rookies alike.
A few familiar names hit the ice with Team White tonight as well as a few new ones.
— Charlottetown Islanders (@IslandersHKY) August 30, 2020
Nous sommes prêts!! Ne manque plus que … les joueurs 😁🏒 pic.twitter.com/Dch4M1fbbB
— Olympiques de Gatineau (@OlympiquesGAT) August 30, 2020
— Moncton Wildcats (@monctonwildcats) August 31, 2020
— L'Océanic de Rimouski (@oceanicrimouski) August 31, 2020
— Huskies de Rouyn-Noranda (@HuskiesRn) August 30, 2020
Roster solidification is part of any training camp process and there were some notable fresh faces including second overall CHL Import Draft pick Jan Bednar who has officially committed to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, and highly touted 2021 NHL Draft prospect Peter Reynolds who just recently joined the Saint John Sea Dogs.
A message from Jan Bednar!
Un message de Jan Bednar! pic.twitter.com/LCEOblN2KX
— Titan Acadie-Bathurst (@ABTitan) August 25, 2020
Peter Reynolds is returning to New Brunswick for the 2020-21 season. A debut years in the making.
"Growing up I watched plenty of Sea Dogs games and I thought they were the coolest thing."
— Saint John Sea Dogs (@SJSeaDogs) August 27, 2020
This season’s overage class is the 2000 birth year and some teams, like the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, have already confirmed their 20-year-old trio.
Un dernier tour de piste pour nos 20 ans
Lorsque questionné à savoir ce qui lui permettrait de quitter la #LHJMQ sans aucun regret au printemps, Boudrias a été franc, clair et concis. Seulement deux mots suffiront : « Une coupe ».
À lire : NOS 20 ANS https://t.co/FRwS6B1LW5 pic.twitter.com/fClQhta4Vc
— Saguenéens (@SagueneensLHJMQ) August 21, 2020
Welcoming back players, in some cases, has also required some adaptation given the current state of the pandemic. Russian forward Mikhail Abramov of the Victoriaville Tigres, for example, has returned to his club but will be in a two-week quarantine before officially joining his teammates.
Bonne nouvelle partisans des Tigres. Mikhail Abramov est arrivé au Québec !😏
— Tigres de Victoriaville (@TigresVicto) September 1, 2020
And as the hockey world awaits the 2020 NHL Draft and the early selection of projected first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere, the two-time CHL Player of the Year continues to train in Montreal as the Rimouski Oceanic prepare for a season without their captain.
— TVA Sports (@TVASports) September 2, 2020
There are also five new faces in charge behind the bench as the exhibition season begins. The two most recent hires include Jean-Francois Gregoire leading the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, and another August hire in Ron Choules of the Shawinigan Cataractes.
Earlier this off-season the Sea Dogs named Greg Gilbert their new head coach, while Louis Robitaille left Victoriaville for the Gatineau Olympiques and was replaced by Carl Mallette.
⚠️ Jean-François Grégoire nommé à la barre du Drakkar ⚠️
L'organisation du Drakkar est heureuse d'annoncer la nomination de Jean-François Grégoire comme 12e entraîneur-chef de l'histoire de l'organisation 🤝!
— 🦀Drakkar de Baie-Comeau🦀 (@DrakkarBAC) August 30, 2020
Le directeur général des Cataractes, Martin Mondou, a annoncé vendredi la nomination de Ron Choules au poste d'entraîneur-chef et de Philippe Roy dans les fonctions d'entraîneur adjoint. 🔥
— Cataractes de Shawinigan (@Cataractes_Shaw) August 7, 2020
A total of 51 exhibition games are scheduled as part of the QMJHL’s Pre-Season wrapping up on September 26. A regular season schedule is still to be announced however teams will compete in three divisions of six teams based on geography.
The Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League seasons are scheduled to begin in December.