SUDBURY -- Hockey could return to Greater Sudbury in December, as the Ontario Hockey League and the Sudbury Wolves announced an initial return to play schedule Wednesday.

The OHL has been shut down since March because of COVID-19, cancelling the remainder of the 2019-2020 season. Wolves owner Dario Zulich said in a news release the announcement is a step in the right direction.

“We are very excited to have a date to work towards for the resumption of play,” Zulich said. “Although several details regarding the upcoming season still need to be ironed out and confirmed, we are thrilled to be receiving a final schedule very soon.

"The No. 1 priority has always been and always will be the health and safety of our players, staff and fans as we prepare for the season. We cannot wait to welcome everyone back to the Sudbury Community Arena this winter!”

Season to end April 29

The league’s return to play overview plan includes only inter-conference play, with a few close exceptions to help decrease long travel between cities. With the expected start date near Dec. 1, the regular season is scheduled to wrap up April 29 with the playoffs and Memorial Cup anticipated to follow.

“We are very excited with the announcement from the league on our return to play overview,” said Sudbury Wolves GM Rob Papineau in the release. “We look forward to receiving more details over the coming weeks from the league and preparing to welcome our players back to our beautiful city. This plan is very good news for our players, our staff and all our fans.

"Over the past two seasons, our hockey club made great improvements and we have witnessed some world class players wearing a Wolves uniform. We look forward to the opportunity to compete for both a conference and league championship as well as a chance to play in the Memorial Cup next June.”

The Wolves, Ontario Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League will continue to consult with Public Health Sudbury & Districts and the provincial and federal governments to make sure everyone remains safe as the teams prepare to return to play, the release said

"The Sudbury Wolves would like to thank our loyal season ticket holders and fan base for their support over the past five months," the club said. "As more details on the upcoming season are available, we will continue to keep you informed."

More information can be found at the Sudbury Wolves website