The start of the upcoming 2020-21 AHL season has been pushed back to February due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The news was announced on Wednesday by AHL President and CEO Scott Howson.
The start date for the season is now set for February 5, but the league says that further details are still being worked out.
In a piece discussing how minor league hockey has adjusted to life during the pandemic, Howson spoke at length with ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski.
Howson specifically mentioned being unsure about if all teams will return to play, when they will play, or where they will play.
“I’m confident that they’ll all be given the opportunity to decide,” he told ESPN last week. “I think a lot of it will be driven by what the economics are going to look like. I can’t tell you right now that I’m sure 31 teams are going to play. But in talking to all the teams, there’s nobody that’s saying, ‘I don’t want to do this.’ Everyone has an optimistic view and are going to try and find a way to make this work. But until we get to an actual start date, what the schedule is going to look like, what the travel is going to be, what the arrangement between the NHL team and the AHL team is going to be, it’s hard for me to say that everyone’s going to participate. There are too many unknowns right now.”
The official announcement delaying the start of the season came after the publication of the ESPN piece, so it’s safe to say that the league is hoping that a two-month delay might help provide some clarity to those ‘unknowns.’