(AP) – The American Hockey League canceled the rest of its season Monday because of the coronavirus pandemic and shifted its focus toward returning next season.
President and CEO David Andrews announced the league “has determined that the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 season is not feasible in light of current conditions.” The AHL’s Board of Governors made that determination in a conference call Friday.
The 84th season for the NHL’s top minor league was suspended March 12 with 209 games remaining. That was the same day the NHL stopped play, though it still hopes to resume and could have many AHL players as part of expanded rosters.
“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,” Andrews said. “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.”
While the Calder Cup will not be handed out for the first time since 1936, the 31-team AHL hopes to return next season. That remains uncertain, with the possibility of no fans allowed in arenas.
Professional Hockey Players Association executive director Larry Landon recently said he’s concerned about the ability of the AHL and ECHL — which canceled the rest of its season in March — returning if it’s not safe for fans.