SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Following a Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday, the American Hockey League has made a significant step towards playing a 2020-21 season starting on February 5.
According to a statement by the AHL Public Relations page, the league’s Board of Governors approved the “structural framework” for this coming season and “look forward to dropping the puck on February 5.” The statement was made by AHL President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Howson.
It’s unclear what the meeting consisted of, other than confirming that the league intends to play on the February 5 date previously put forward. The decision seems geared towards allowing NHL teams to be certain of where to send players who will not make the team or taxi squad attending training camp, which begins as early as December 31st for teams who did not play in the NHL bubble this past summer.
According to insider Patrick Williams, this step seems to put into motion the pre-season preparations for AHL teams, who previously were told to opt-in or out by early January. It’s unknown if any teams will be opting out at this point, but some teams like the Hershey Bears put out their own statement, seemingly confirming that they will be playing this season.
More updates should follow, as the Board of Governors meets again next week.
There's another AHL Board of Governors call next week to firm up details, but pending government approvals it's expected the four Canadian-based teams (Winnipeg, Toronto, Belleville, Laval) will face each other this season.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) December 30, 2020
It’s an interesting way to announce the season, but the AHL has been working closely with the NHL to make their seasons align. Of course, there’s not much information here outside of the fact that the AHL intends to play a season. Schedule details, roster information, and of course, fan attendance are all burning questions that are being finalized. Details of how the season will play out are yet to be determined, but rejoice: AHL hockey is coming back!