Plans for December Start to the AHL Season Announced

AHL season
CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 23: Cleveland Monsters center Zac Dalpe (28) plays the puck as Hershey Bears defenceman Ryan Sproul (5) defends during the second period of the American Hockey League game between the Hershey Bears and Cleveland Monsters on March 23, 2019, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It was announced on Thursday that the AHL season is planning to start on December 4, 2020. This is roughly two months after the originally planned start date would’ve been, without a world-wide pandemic.

AHL Season to Start in December

The AHL was put on hold completely on March 12, 2020. While the Covid-19 pandemic raged on, the league sat in wait, trying to find a time to start up again. They didn’t manage to find such an opportunity, though, and canceled the season entirely on May 11, 2020. Many teams had not played the same amount of games at this point, though. To adjust for this, the league ruled that all standings, as of March 12, were final and end-of-season awards would be given out based on point percentage.

This decision had the Milwaukee Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators, topping the league. The league’s conferences were led by the Providence Bruins, Admirals, Belleville Senators, and Colorado Eagles respectively; again based on point percentage.

The cancellation of the season also brought with it the canceling of the post-season, meaning the Calder Cup would not be awarded. This year is the first time in AHL history that the Calder Cup won’t be given out, dating back to the 1936-37 season (then known as the I-AHL).

The Charlotte Checkers, affiliate to the Carolina Hurricanes, were the most recent to win the Cup. The Hershey Bears, now the Washington Capitals affiliate, have been the most successful AHL team through history, though. They’ve won the Cup 12 times and served as runner-ups an additional 11 times. The Bears were most recently featured in the league’s championship in the 2015-16 season, when they lost to the Lake Erie Monsters. They haven’t won it since 2009-10, finishing a back-to-back championship run from the year before, behind players like Keith Aucoin, Michal Neuvirth, and Braden Holtby.

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