The AHL Has Canceled The Remainder Of Its Season As The NHL Continues To Grapple With A Decision Of Its Own
When ESPN inevitably releases a 30 For 30 about the time the sports world suddenly came to a screeching halt, a sizeable chunk of the documentary will likely be devoted to March 12, 2020, which is the day the three of North America’s Big Four leagues followed in the footsteps of the NBA by putting their current and upcoming seasons on hold.
Soccer is set to make its grand return in Germany later this week when Bundesliga will pick up where it left off with a notable absence of fans in attendance, and while those in the Western Hemisphere wait with bated breath for their beloved organizations to do the same, it’s impossible to know when (or if) they’ll end up following suit.
However, on Monday, the few dozen people eagerly looking forward to the AHL resuming play were struck with a brutal blow when the league put out a press release announcing it has made the decision to cancel the rest of its season, with ESPN reporting the call was partially influenced by the financial infeasibility of playing games in empty arenas in a league where up to 85% of revenue can be credited to ticket sales.
Here’s what league president David Andrews had to say:
After a lengthy review process, the American Hockey League has determined that the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 season is not feasible in light of current conditions.
The League’s operational focus has turned toward actively preparing for the 2020-21 season.
We are very grateful to the National Hockey League and its teams for their support and leadership in navigating through the challenges faced over the past two months.
The AHL continues to place paramount importance on the health and safety of our players, officials, staff and fans and all of their families, and we all look forward to returning to our arenas in 2020-21.
The NHL, on the other hand, is in a much better position to weather the current storm despite the not-so-insignificant hit it would also take by not being in a position to allow fans to attend contests and continues to explore contingency plans that include having every team gather in North Dakota and experimenting with an expanded playoff format.
However, one source told ESPN that NHL officials currently don’t have any timeline in place as they continue to monitor the situation, so only time will tell if the AHL could be a fairly sizeable spark that may result in a chain reaction.