Sportsnet’s Spector reports uncertainty regarding the AHL’s ‘Return to Play’

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector discussed the AHL’s “Return to Play” plan with AHL president Scott Howson, and at present, it doesn’t sound like the AHL’s status is any clearer than that of their parent league’s situation:

While the NHL tries to put a number on just how much money they are willing to lose while pounding a rounded version of the 2020-21 season through an increasingly square hole, its primary development league is waiting patiently for a turn at Commissioner Gary Bettman’s negotiating table.

And you can probably guess what they need to talk about.

“It’s got to make sense,” began Scott Howson, the AHL’s new president and CEO. “If we’re able to play it’s going to be more about player supply and player development this year than anything else. Without fans in the buildings, it’s certainly not going to be about any meaningful revenue. So yes, we’re going to want to know what the NHL is doing before we finalize what our plan is going to be.”

By “what the NHL is doing,” Howson means any number of things. For one, if the NHL doesn’t play, the AHL will not play either.

But Howson will also have to know how the NHL plans to support the 12 AHL teams (out of 31) that are not owned by an NHL club. What is the NHL is doing about the three Western Canadian teams with farm clubs in the U.S. — Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton in Utica, Stockton and Bakersfield, respectively — and how are they supposed to call players up with a 14-day, cross-border quarantine in place?

And while we’re asking, how can a minor league as ticket-dependent as the AHL weather a season that may pass without a single ticket being sold? Not without a lot of help from the NHL, that’s how.

Continued; remember, the Red Wings do not own the Grand Rapids Griffins, so, for the Griffins to play, the Red Wings are going to have to offer some sort of assistance…

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.