The AHL announced this morning that they will be ending the season and canceling the Calder Cup playoffs for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“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.”
It appears that the AHL has looked at the data and outlook projections and decided that the risk of re-opening and the logistics of figuring out how to begin play again wasn’t worth the stress and potential human cost. Unfortunately, it will cost the league a good chunk of revenue that the league relies on for operations. The overall impact of the losses won’t be known for a while, but the consequences are already apparent for the San Antonio Rampage. This season was going to be their final in San Antonio due to a purchase by the Vegas Golden Knights and a pending re-location to Nevada to be closer to the NHL club.
It’s difficult enough to say goodbye to a team with a proper ending to the season, but I’m sure it has to be even harder under these circumstances.
The other question that remains is if the NHL will take this into consideration as they plan for the resumption of the season. Without a league playing that the NHL can utilize for call-ups, it make make injuries a bigger concern than they already would’ve been. Also, this may turn the pressure up a little bit on the NHL to completely check all of the boxes before they make a final decision.
Of course, the biggest box for the NHL to check is the revenue box, so the risk/reward that figures into that will be the final determination if the league resumes play or not.