For the first time since the league began play in 1936, the American Hockey League will not crown a champion this year.
AHL League President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews made it official on Monday, announcing that the league’s Board of Governors have voted to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season and playoffs due to the pandemic.
“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 media release.
“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 second-best pro hockey league in North America, the AHL consists of 31 teams, including three in Canada. Teams are now beginning the process of offering refunds and credits to fans for cancelled games.
“Fans who hold tickets to any of the unplayed games remaining on the 2019-20 schedule will be contacted by a representative from the Marlies ticketing team to receive a full refund or the option to move credit to the 2020-21 season,” the Toronto Marlies announced on Monday.
“All original ticket holders have the option of receiving a full refund at the purchase price of their tickets,” the Laval Rocket have said.
The final standings will be sorted by points percentage, the league said, meaning that the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators affiliate) will finish the season in first place.
Without AHL call-ups to rely on, this will have an effect on NHL teams if they are able to resume their season this summer. Expect NHL teams to carry larger rosters than normal, as insurance in case of injuries.