Canada announced it will open its borders to fully vaccinated Americans beginning August 9. The announcement could mean big changes for the Ontario Hockey League and who will return to the ice this fall.
Craig Goslin is the President and Managing Partner of the Saginaw Spirit.
"We're saying thank God the border being open. Certainly, that's game on. It's our hashtag for the year for the league," Goslin said.
He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the OHL. Goslin said the three American OHL teams will have no issues crossing into Canada because everyone that travels with them will be vaccinated.
"In order for players to get across the border they're going to have to be vaccinated. And so, a player that does not get vaccinated just won't be able to play in our league," Goslin said.
Goslin said that's a condition most of the players have accepted.
"We've had a couple of players--certainly, it's the law of averages--that don't want to be vaccinated. But at this point they're deciding what they want to do with their hockey future," Goslin said.
Right now, the United States border remains closed for non-essential travel from Canada.
"That's the second shoe that has to fall here is that the U.S. Government now has to allow the Canadians to come into the U.S. That are fully vaccinated. And certainly, that is something that we're hoping occurs before we start our season. We start our season Oct. 16. The experts are telling me, and telling us, and the league that by then we should have this under control," Goslin said.
The first six games for the spirit will be played in the U.S. Before the team's first trip to Canada Nov. 3. Goslin said that could change if conditions warrant, leaving the door open for a lot of games against the Flint Firebirds in the early part of the campaign.
"We're going to play Flint several times. They're two really talented young teams and I think there will be a lot of entertainment for the fans," Goslin said.