AHL cancels remainder of 2019-20 season
The American Hockey League, the primary development league for the National Hockey League, announced on Monday that due to the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak in North America that they would be cancelling the remainder of the 2019-20 regular, as well as the 2020 Calder Cup Playoffs. The league standings (as sorted by points percentage) and statistics as of March 12, 2020, are to be considered final and official.
This marks the first time in the league’s history that the Calder Cup will not be awarded. The Milwaukee Admirals, affiliate of the Nashville Predators, finish with the best points percentage in the league, 0.714 with a 41-14-5-3 (W-L-OTL-SOL) record.
The San Diego Gulls finished fourth in the Pacific Division with a 30-19-6-2 record and 0.596 points percentage.
The decision was made on Friday, following a vote from the league’s board of governors. AHL President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews said this in a 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.”
The AHL is much more reliant on cash flow from game attendance than the NHL, who also has the advantage of earning revenue through major television deals. Their partnership with the NHL likely allowed the league to hold out a little longer — the ECHL, the third-tier professional men’s hockey league in North America, announced they were cancelling the 2019-20 on March 15 — but the logistics of returning anytime soon are expensive and unlikely to be profitable for the league, especially if no fans are allowed to be in attendance.