All OHL community members, including players, coaches, billets, must have COVID-19 vaccines

The Ontario Hockey League will require all community members, including players, staff, coaches, officials and billet families, to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The OHL's vaccination policy, which is available online, says everyone needs to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before the 2021/2022 season begins.

"The purpose of this policy is to protect the health and safety of all OHL Community Members by reducing the risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19, an infectious communicable disease, among all persons involved in the OHL; and to promote the health and safety of all members of the OHL community, through vaccinations against COVID-19," the vaccination policy reads in part.

Officials with the OHL says it's necessary to have the policy in order to prevent and alleviate COVID-19 outbreaks in the league.

"The close contact nature of organized hockey makes compliance with social distancing impossible and reduces the effectiveness of other infectious disease transmission protocols such as masking," the policy adds.

The OHL said it will accept any vaccines approved by either Health Canada or the World Health Organization. People will need to provide documentation of vaccination, which can either be a dose administration receipt or medical records signed by a licensed health care provider.

The Kitchener Rangers will open their season at home on Oct. 8 against the Guelph Storm.