The AHL announced in a press release on Thursday that it’s pushing back the start of the 2020-21 season to December 4, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The press release reads:
American Hockey League President and CEO Scott Howson has announced a revised start date for the 2020-21 AHL season, as approved by the league’s Board of Governors during its 2020 Annual Meeting held today via conference call.
At the recommendation of the AHL’s Return to Play Task Force, the Board of Governors has approved moving the anticipated start of the 2020-21 regular season to December 4, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. The AHL will continue to work with its member clubs to monitor developments and local guidelines in all 31 league cities.
Further details regarding the 2020-21 American Hockey League schedule are still to be determined.
The Hershey Bears added this comment.
Per @TheAHL, the anticipated start date for the 2020-21 AHL regular season has been moved to December 4, 2020.
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) July 30, 2020
Without playing games in empty arenas or having players in bubbles, it’s unclear how the AHL, who does not have the resources like the NHL, could play games in the United States in December. The country continues to be the world’s hot spot for positive coronavirus cases. This week, the US passed a grizzly milestone as it registered over 150k deaths due to COVID-19. In the fall and winter, spread of the virus is expected to get worse.
A possible coronavirus vaccine is still, at the earliest, months away and it could take up to a year to fully immunize the public.
“If we get a widespread uptake of vaccine, we can put an end to the pandemic and we can create a veil of immunity that would prevent the infection coming back,” Dr. Fauci recently told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
Reuters reported on Thursday that the US government is preparing to launch an “overwhelming” COVID-19 vaccine campaign by November to promote Americans to take a vaccine at the start of early next year.
Update 8/5: The ECHL has announced it is targeting a December 4 start date too.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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