American Hockey League pushes start of season back to Feb. 5

The American Hockey League plans to bring the puck to the 5th hole next season. February, hoping to synchronize their schedule with that of the NHL and draw fans into the arena for most, if not all, of the 31 teams.

AHL President and CEO Scott Houseon said that with regard to leveling divisions, formats and the number of games played, although he has answered a question since early February after it became unrealistic due to the state of the COVID 19 pandemic, AHL President and CEO Scott Houseon said the season would begin on February 4 as originally scheduled. December to begin with.

This gives us the best chance to have a good season with the fans in the building, and we’ll see what happens here in the coming months, said Hawson on the phone after the AHL Board announced the start date of December 5. February. We will be flexible and do our best to play.

The AHL is a partner in the first NHL junior league, starting the season at 1. January. A typical AHL season usually starts after the NHL season.


NHL Assistant Commissioner Bill Daley said he did not expect AHL’s announcement to affect NHL planning. Dali said that the AHL had kept the NHL informed of the decision-making process and that the leadership had been informed of what happened last week.

The NHL, they’re somewhere in January, Houseon said. We’re not directly related to what the NHL does, but we want to be a bit in sync, so 5th seemed like a good idea. February is a good month, even though the distance between the two championships that start is a bit greater.

No sport in North America depends more on crowds than hockey, and trying to get a few fans into buildings is a major reason for its launch in February. Mr Houseon commented that the vast majority of jurisdictions with AHL teams did not admit fans just a month ago and that there is hope that the situation will change by mid-winter.

We’re moving in the right direction in some of our markets, Houseon said. It is to be hoped that this trend will continue.

Earlier this month, the EXL – a level lower than the AHL in the North American Junior Hockey League – announced that it would start its season on January 11. December, with 13 of the 26 teams directly involved. The EXL teams in Atlanta and Norfolk, Virginia have voluntarily withdrawn this season.

Houseon said this could happen in the AHL, but he wants to move the cancellation period so that as many teams as possible can play.

I think all our teams want to play, but nobody knows what’s going to happen, he said.

One possibility is that the AHL could adapt to the formation of a Canadian unit if the NHL does so because of U.S. Canadian border restrictions, which would mean the teams would move north to Bakersfield and Stockton, California and Utica, New York to be in the same country as their home clubs. However, the pilot project on the coronavirus in Alberta, which could shorten the quarantine period on entry into Canada, suggests that this will not be necessary.

Next week, the AHL working group meets again and proposes a game plan with a series of games. The league was able to match the 2020 baseball season by dividing teams into regional groups to reduce travel, including multiple games in one city between teams.

It is useful that in AHL the team normally plays three games in three days over the weekend to maximize participation. They can now become miniseries to get through the season.

No matter what we do, regional planning will be difficult, so teams that play for each other will play more often, Hawson said. Just be a little more aware of what the virus does and how we can fight it with our program.

The NHL has already cancelled the Winter Classics for the New Year and the All-Star weekends are scheduled for the end of January, as there is no guarantee that fans will not be able to come to the NHL. After the announcement, the League declared that it would continue playing 1. About January.

The NHL Return to Play Commission, consisting of league representatives and players, has not yet met to discuss the 2021 season.

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