Ontario will allow Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators to play at home this season

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Ontario has given the green light for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators to play home games this season, all but finalizing the NHL's plan for an all-Canadian division.

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's sport minister, tweeted Thursday the province has granted permission for the Leafs and Senators to play at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MacLeod said the decision was made after meetings with Ontario's chief medical officer of health along with top public health officials in Toronto and Ottawa.

Manitoba is now the lone province not to grant final approval. However, acting deputy chief public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal said Wednesday that Manitoba is ``confident things will move ahead as planned'' during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quebec, B.C. and Alberta have already given their respective teams approval to play at home.

The season, which starts Jan. 13, features a new North Division that will see the seven Canadian franchises only play one another instead of crossing into the United States for games.