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The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has extended its holiday break until Jan. 14 as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Eastern Canada.

The QMJHL said in a statement Thursday that it’s pushing back the end of its break to create a safe environment for players and staff, facilitate players’ return to school and allow them time to practice and work out.

The league was originally scheduled to resume play Jan. 7 after starting its break on Dec. 18.

The QMJHL says its regular season schedule will resume in the week of Jan. 17, with postponed games to be rescheduled at a later date.

The league said its updated COVID-19 protocols include a series of preventive testing before players and staff reconvene, and that additional measures will be announced in the upcoming days.

The other two major junior leagues under the Canadian Hockey League umbrella – the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League – have resumed play.