Quebec public health greenlights Montreal Canadiens return to play

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Quebec is the third province to approve NHL games this season in Canada, leaving Manitoba and Ontario as the only jurisdictions yet to announce a final decision.

In an email to The Canadian Press on Monday, a spokesperson for the Quebec Health Department confirmed that public health authorities approved the revised protocol submitted by Canadian teams to federal authorities.

Meanwhile, Manitoba chief provincial public health officer Brent Roussin said Monday the risk to the public is “quite low” under the NHL’s plan. He added that the next step is to amend public health orders.

Alberta and B.C. previously gave the green light to the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, respectively.

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The NHL season is set to start on Jan. 13 with a new North Division that will see the seven Canadian franchises play one another instead of crossing into the United States for games.

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Alberta gave the OK on Dec. 25 before B.C. Premier John Horgan announced his province’s blessing on Sunday.

The league said on Dec. 24 it believed it was free to play in Canada after discussions with health authorities.

Provinces with NHL franchises needed to give their approval for games to be played between Canadian teams during the regular season.

The federal government approved the start of training camp and the waiving of the 14-day quarantine under “national interest grounds.”

The Habs began gearing up for the new season with their first team practice at the Montreal Canadiens training centre in Brossard on Monday.

They’re set to face off against the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Jan. 13. and will play the Calgary Flames on Jan. 28 for their home opener.

The start of the season will take place behind closed doors, without spectators in the stands.

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— With files from Global News’ Annabelle Olivier

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