On pause for two months, AHL cancels remainder of season
Two months to the day after it played its last games, including one in Bridgeport, the American Hockey League announced Monday morning that its season is over because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The league had officially suspended its season on March 12, the same day the NHL paused its season. Most of North American sports has been on hold ever since.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers had 13 games remaining in a 76-game regular season when the season ended. Eight of those 13 were scheduled for Webster Bank Arena. Refund and credit options for those holding tickets to those games are on the Sound Tigers’ website.
The Hartford Wolf Pack also had eight home games left. A release from the team said plan holders will receive an email about refunds, redemptions and other options.
When the season ended, Bridgeport had the league’s worst winning percentage at .421, with a record of 23-33-5-2. The Sound Tigers were all but certain to miss the Calder Cup Playoffs for the seventh time in 10 years.
Instead, the playoffs themselves are canceled for the first time since the league began in 1936-37, the Calder Cup unawarded in Dave Andrews’ 26th and final season as the AHL’s president.
“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,” Andrews said in a statement. “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 Sound Tigers had won their last two games, including a 4-1 win over Toronto on March 11. Within an hour of the end of that game, the NBA had suspended its season. Hockey’s top leagues followed suit the next day.
The arena was soon readied in case it was needed to welcome overflow hospital patients, and most players soon returned home.
The NHL is reportedly still considering options for a summertime restart, more viable because of television money even without fans in the seats because of the ongoing pandemic. Some Sound Tigers, then, may join the New York Islanders for either a regular-season completion or playoff run. Those rules are still to be determined.
And what the 2020-21 season might look like is even less determined.
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