The OHL season, delayed and shortened by COVID-19, is now three months away, but the league said a final decision on whether or not body checking will be allowed still hasn't been made.

Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Lisa McLeod said "no" to the contact, a crucial component of the game.

"It'll certainly change their playstyle, it's taking out a whole component of how they have to play," said fan Zachery Scandlan.

Other fans said the game won't be the same without it, and Premier Doug Ford said that he too would like to see it allowed.

The OHL announced an updated timeline for the upcoming season last week, saying teams will primarily play against opponents in their geographic region. A schedule hasn't been released yet.

In an email to CTV Kitchener, the league said that conversations with the government and public health officials are ongoing, but that a final decision hasn't been reached.

Hockey could look a lot different if body checking was banned for the upcoming season.

It's something that Tony Martindale, the executive director at Alliance Hockey, knows well. He said that, at the minor level without body checking, players focus on refining skills and techniques.

He said that, while OHL players would have to adjust to the back-to-basics style of hockey, the game would go on.

"Maybe there's a hybrid of body contact where there isn't the checking but there is battling for the puck and that sort of thing," he said.

"I'm sure they'll find a way to defend and the games will be exciting as they always have been."

Some fans worry that their favourite players could have their development hindered if the ban were to go through.

"I think that would definitely put players on a disadvantage moving on next year," said fan Rebecca Myette.

Others said that hockey without body checking is better than no hockey at all.