The American Hockey League has reportedly decided to cancel what remains of the 2019-20 AHL season.
I am told the American Hockey League will be announcing plans to cancel the remainder of the season. I expect clubs to begin process of notifying staff shortly.
— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) March 16, 2020
AHL Reportedly Cancels Season
The cancellation of the season is something that many people will have likely had their eyes on for some time now. With the suspension of play in nearly every hockey league around the world last week, many were hoping that play would resume in the coming months. That will not be the case for many NHL hopefuls.
The American Hockey League has served as the primary developmental league to the NHL. Since the 2010-11 season, every AHL team has been affiliated with an NHL team. The rosters have hosted the prospects for their respective franchise, once prospects turn 18- years-old.
Nothing has been officially announced at this point in time. This is surely disappointing for teams like the Providence Bruins and Milwaukee Admirals. Both teams were at the top of their respective conferences and front-runners for the Calder Cup. It is unknown what will happen thus far as the awards are concerned. The health of players and fans alike comes first and foremost.
The Influence of the American Hockey League on the NHL
We have seen many players use the AHL as a stepping stone to get to the NHL. Such is the case with Minnesota Wild forward Mats Zuccarello. Before joining the Wild, Zuccarello played for the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League, the affiliate for the New York Rangers. As an undrafted free agent, the likelihood of making it to the NHL is slim. You can be easily overlooked. Zuccarello was not only able to make it to the NHL but is now one of the best players on the Minnesota Wild’s roster.
Not only does this impact the players and coaches that participate every night, but this also impacts the arena staff. Many NHL owners have proclaimed that the arena staff will continue to be paid their regular wage during the suspension of play. Seeing as how the American Hockey League does not bring in the same level of revenue as the NHL, we have to wonder if it will be possible.
While the AHL has decided to cancel the remainder of the season, the NHL still has made no announcement thus far on when play will resume, if at all. Players and fans can only hope it will be sooner rather than later. The only thing that is for certain is that the cancellation of the 2019-20 AHL season does not bode well for the rest of the professional sports leagues across North America.