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AHL officially cancelling season

Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 8:19 am
by Hunt
Shouldn't be a surprise, but Patrick Williams is reporting that the AHL is officially shutting it down for the 19-20 season.

He also is reporting that, while no announcement is coming, it is highly unlikely the AHL will come back until crowds are back pretty-much across all of North America.

Just common sense...minor leagues cannot survive without crowds, but still crazy just to see these things being official.

Let's just hope we as a society do this right so we can get back to a real normal sooner rather than later. I'm afraid that our cutting corners and rushed half-measures to make us feel better will end up leading more long-term pain and ultimately a slower return to actual normal life and true economic recovery.

Re: AHL officially cancelling season

Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 8:24 am
by CreedFeed

Re: AHL officially cancelling season

Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 8:48 am
by WolfBoy
It's the right thing to do.

Re: AHL officially cancelling season

Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 10:10 am
by Mike
Me too

Re: AHL officially cancelling season

Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 3:09 pm
by Alvious
What do you think the chances are of the AHL (and minor league hockey in general) operating next year without fans in the seats? Can't see it happening, in my opinion.

Re: AHL officially cancelling season

Posted: Tue May 12, 2020 7:19 am
by Hunt
There is no way. Minor league teams struggle to be profitable as it is. Now, take away the crowds and they'll just bleed money.

The question to me is what if most the league can have crowds...but some can't? But then again, that's probably irrelevant in the AHL because most of the league is in California, Illinois, and the New York to New England regions.

To me, the only way the league could restart without fans is if the NHL footed the bill. But if they're footing the bill, it would make more sense to keep their prospects local and have them practice within the organization in their facility.

As I said in the previous thread, if that happens, I could see some Traverse City type prospect tournaments pop up during the season to get those kids game action. But that would be Blackhawks vs. Red Wings, not Ice Hogs vs. Griffins...and the Hurricanes would likely stay local and be in a cluster tournament with teams like the Capitals, not come here.

MLB has all but essentially announced something like this. Seems like the minor league season will be canceled, teams will carry more players, and teams may have like an extended Spring Training/camp during the season for players not carried with the big league club.

My guess is the start of the AHL season gets delayed. This I for sure believe will happen.
I don't think there will be AHL hockey in the fall. If/Once it becomes apparent they can't have at least a half-season with crowds in at least half the league, they cancel the entire season.

Re: AHL officially cancelling season

Posted: Tue May 12, 2020 8:41 am
by Cheapseats
I am not sure the NHL can survive without fans in the seats. In Canada, I understand, there is a big TV contact but not in the US. There are several teams on the edge already.

In the AHL, many, if not most, teams could not survive without fans and as stated above there is a limited amount of financial help available from NHL teams.

My fear is that the AHL and minor league hockey is done for the short term and maybe the long term.

Re: AHL officially cancelling season

Posted: Thu May 14, 2020 6:46 pm
by Mike
I can see the AHL shutting down for the 20-21 season. Lets say they get the virus numbers down by Dec or Jan. That is still a much shorter season and the lead time to sell tickets and get stadiums reserved would make it impracticable. Also there might be a lot of fans that don't want to chance going if the virus numbers are to high. I think it would be best to punt the next 20-21 season and look at starting up in the 21-22.

Re: AHL officially cancelling season

Posted: Tue May 19, 2020 8:33 am
by Hunt
Cheapseats, I think the NHL could survive...in the short term.

One reason why I think they are so willing to go to Labor Day (or whenever) to finish this season is not just because the playoffs are so important, but also because they DON'T WANT to start next season in October.

Let's just assume things continue to move forward and no major setbacks, so pro sports can start practicing in mid-June and playing in July. I can see...

Early-Mid July- NHL starts some kind of "regular season" for, let's say, 24 teams.

Late July- NHL playoffs start with all of those teams brought back. Starts with a mini-play in round for bubble teams.

Playoffs go through mid-late September.

In this case, the NHL 2020-21 starts anywhere from Thanksgiving to early January. And I think the NHL is OK with this. The later they start, the more likely they are to play with crowds and/or bigger crowds. Plus, if you're just a TV sport and losing hockey's die-hard STH spending, you are losing badly to football anyway in the fall. This 2020-21 goes maybe 70 games and Cup awarded around 4th of July. 20-21 starts a couple weeks late and you're kinda back to normal.

The question is the AHL. If there is no or limited crowds in any big combination of California, Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts, there's no way the league starts. Teams will just train and practice with their players at their facilities. The question comes in at what point of crowd size can they start, and at what point of the calendar do NHL teams say they'd rather just finish the season "in house" like they started?

Re: AHL officially cancelling season

Posted: Tue May 19, 2020 11:43 am
by Mike
The podcast brought up a good point too in that some teams are NHL team owned and others are independent. Independent teams would need the crowds to keep going and the NHL team owned teams might just want their guys to play.