The QMJHL is set to be the first of the Canadian Hockey League teams to start playing, with a scheduled opening night of October 2. The preseason games have been going on since the start of September. To accommodate travel restrictions into the Atlantic provinces and to reduce travel within Quebec, the schedule has teams playing within limited divisions with no fans in attendance in Quebec.
The Victoriaville Tigres, home of Maple Leafs prospect Mikhail Abramov, will play against Rimouski, Quebec City, Baie-Comeau, Shawinigan and Chicoutimi only.
This week, Rick Westhead reported that the CHL, who have to act on behalf of the QMJHL, have been trying to get permission for the foreign import players to come into Canada. So far, that hasn’t happened.
The Canadian Hockey League’s lobbyists in recent weeks have been consulting with officials from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, govt records show.— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) September 11, 2020
Player agents say there are Covid-related concerns about intl players travelling to Canada for the 2020-21 season.
Le Journal de Québec reports that most of the European players signed to teams in the QMJHL have not left home yet. They are not considered essential workers and so are not allowed entry. If the lobbying pays off, they will still need to do their 14-day isolation before they can join their teams in training or in play.
There are two exceptions. Victoriaville’s Egor Serdyuk, an unsigned prospect of the Flyers, never left Canada, and will be available for his third season when games get underway. Abramov arrived in Canada on September 1, after playing in a Russian national junior team event, the Sochi Cup, where the juniors played various KHL teams in preseason configuration in the resort town of Sochi. He was very impressive in that event.
He was spotted arriving in plenty of time to do his isolation and join the Tigres. Abramov was allowed entry because of his contract with the Leafs according to Le Journal de Québec.
Bonne nouvelle partisans des Tigres. Mikhail Abramov est arrivé au Québec !— Tigres de Victoriaville (@TigresVicto) September 1, 2020
Il devra suivre une période de quarantaine de 14 jours à Victoriaville, avant de rejoindre l’équipe sur la glace le 12 septembre prochain.#GoTigresGo pic.twitter.com/VmxvNW1Sji
Slick feed from Mikhail Abramov to set up Vladislav Firstov (MIN) with the goal https://t.co/iVNtFS53Jz— Future Of The Six (@FutureOfTheSix) August 7, 2020