Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is on the AHL’s Return to Play Committee, but a December 4th-scheduled 2020-2021 AHL season start seems unlikely at this point.
As the league is so very dependent upon ticket sales for revenue, it’s hard to say whether there will be an AHL season at all, and as such, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks wonders aloud whether the AHL will have to adapt to “bubble hockey” to survive:
For if the structure of the NHL’s 2020-21 is fraught with uncertainty, the entire minor league operation is in question. The AHL long ago announced that the season would begin on Dec. 4, but that appears to be wildly optimistic. More to the point, it is difficult to conceive how the minor leagues can proceed without gate-related revenue.
The NHL has appointed a committee of club executives, including, but not limited to, Edmonton’s Ken Holland, Winnipeg’s Mark Chipman and Toronto’s Kyle Dubas, to investigate hypotheticals that might apply to the AHL and minor league seasons.
One would have to believe that the “alternate site” concept adopted by baseball this season would be under consideration, with taxi-squads formed that might skate in either local practice venues or perhaps as part of a group in centralized locations.
Conclusions and plans of action will of course affect the progress of prospects within every organization. More than that, they will affect the livelihoods of thousands of individuals within the industry. It seems inevitable that more pain is in store.
Continued; I’m genuinely worried about the AHL and ECHL surviving through the 2020-2021 season.