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Disappointment for Greyhounds as OHL regular season cancelled

'It's unfortunate, but at the same time, it's for the good of everybody that they're making the decision' - Soo Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis
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File photo. Brad Coccimiglio/SooToday

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The disappointment of your season ending earlier than you had hoped is one thing.

The disappointment of it ending before you’ve finished playing games is even tougher.

The Soo Greyhounds faced that disappointment on Wednesday afternoon after the Ontario Hockey League announced the cancellation of the remaining games left on the regular season schedule due to COVID-19.

The decision came after a conference call involving the OHL’s governors and then confirmed in a second call with OHL general managers shortly thereafter.

“If your year ends on a conference call, it’s a really tough situation,” Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis said on Wednesday evening. “Just judging by how things in the sports world have gone and how everyone’s world has gone in the last few days to a week, (the decision) is not really that surprising. If you would have told me this was how it was going to end a week ago, I would have had a different reaction. Just the way that everything has been trending, it’s a tough decision as a league because I know they wanted to play the games.

“It’s unfortunate,” Raftis added. “But at the same time, it’s for the good of everybody that they’re making the decision.”

It was a week ago that the league announced it was putting the remainder of the OHL schedule on pause due to the virus, which has forced the cancellation or postponement of sports across the globe.

The OHL’s decision meant 56 regular season games would not be played, including four Greyhound games.

OHL commissioner David Branch said Wednesday in a prepared statement that the decision “is the proper course of action to take at this time.”

“We are continuing to monitor ongoing public health developments regarding COVID-19,” Branch also said. “When it is safe and we may resume play, we will advise on the status of the 2020 OHL playoffs.”

The OHL Priority Selection, scheduled to be conducted on April 4 via the OHL’s official website, will go on as planned.

The current conditions make things a little bit different for OHL teams approaching the event.

“We’re not really sure how we’re going to do the draft day because usually everybody is in the Sault and we bring the whole staff up,” Raftis said. “We can’t bring the American part of our scouting staff up because of the border being what it is.

“And looking ahead that many weeks in advance is tough to predict how things are going to be,” Raftis added. “There’s a chance of getting into some small groups and do some conference calls. We’re going to do some meetings in different ways leading up to it with conference calls.”

With the final standings set, the four non-playoff teams will have the top four picks in the draft. The Greyhounds will pick fourth overall.

The North Bay Battalion will pick first with the Niagara IceDogs selecting second and the Sarnia Sting third.