According to the Free Press’s Helene St. James, two members of the AHL’s “Return to Play” committee, including Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland and AHL president Scott Howson, the American Hockey League may or may not be able to hold a 2020-2021 season, especially if the ticket-revenue-driven league is not able to accommodate fans’ rear ends in seats:
“It would be very difficult for most of our teams to operate without fans,” Scott Howson, the president of the AHL, told the Free Press. “I think there are some that would want to do it. Most of our teams are sort of able to operate at 50% capacity. That is the feedback we are getting from surveys, but right now, we aren’t close to that in most of our jurisdictions.”
Van Andel Arena, home to the Grand Rapids Griffins, has a capacity of 11,000 for hockey games, but under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s current orders, 5,500 fans would not be allowed to gather at the rink.
Local restrictions on travel and large gatherings in several locations are among the many issues Howson and the AHL committee have to consider.
“We have four Canadian AHL teams and further to that, we have three NHL Canadian teams that have their players playing in AHL U.S. market, which would make it difficult for them to recall players,” Howson said. “Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver all have their teams in the States, so that’s a big obstacle and consideration as we tackle this issue.”
The AHL has a board meeting scheduled for Sept. 30, at which point the committee is expected to “come up with a recommendation for us to consider,” Howson said. “So it’s all still very much up in the air. We just aren’t able to decide anything on whether Dec. 4 is realistic at this point.”
Continued; the NHL, AHL and ECHL seasons are all “up in the air” right now due to travel and stadium capacity restrictions…