The American Hockey League has done what everyone has now been expecting for several weeks. According to an announcement from National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, the AHL has now officially announced the cancelation of the 2019 - 2020 season.
From the very beginning it was made quite clear that the AHL would face significantly more challenges restarting their season than the NHL due to some severe logistical concerns as well as the more limited resources of their league when contrasted with the NHL. On Monday the AHL board of governors confirmed those fears when they voted to cancel both the regular season as well as the 2020 American Hockey League playoffs as a result of the current global crisis.
The news is of course very bad for all of the players, coaches, team executives and team owners and there is real concern that the AHL could suffer some significant long term damage as a result of this shutdown. Many AHL teams do not have the financial backing of billionaire ownership in the same way that NHL teams do, and it will be very interesting to watch the fallout of this suspended season and what long term impact it will have on the league.
Our thoughts today are with all the players and employees who rely on the AHL to support their families and loved ones.
Update: The AHL has released the following official statement:
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.
Again a huge loss for the hockey community, our thoughts go out to all those affected by this terrible news today.