More leagues are canceling their seasons due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), as the USHL and NAHL both recently made such announcements.
The USHL is the top junior hockey league in the U.S., while the NAHL represents Tier II.
USHL statement on canceling season
The USHL released this statement, clarifying the cancellation after previously announcing a delay on March 12.
“This decision was not an easy one to make, but was a necessity in order to keep our athletes, staffs and fans in all 16 of our communities safe amid this international health risk,” USHL President and Commissioner Tom Garrity said. “While we believe our product is the best junior hockey that fans can view, we also understand the health of our athletes, employees, fans and communities is more important during this time.”
NAHL releases statement on canceled season
The NAHL’s statement was interesting, as commissioner Mark Frankenfeld made a point to say that the biggest disappointment was for players. Here’s that full statement:
“The NAHL and its Board of Governors did everything in our power to preserve a modified playoff and Robertson Cup Finals to ensure our players had every opportunity to compete for and win a Robertson Cup Championship. The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation of cancelling all events of 50 or more people during the next eight weeks made that reality impossible without dramatically disrupting the rest of our hockey calendar. All NAHL teams will move forward with their tryout camp schedule, which is currently outside the CDC window.”
“We have had an incredible and memorable 2019-20 season up until this point, so this is a very sad day for everyone associated with the NAHL. We share that disappointment with all of our teams, parents, billet families, staff, sponsors, and fans. However, the biggest disappointment we have today is for our players. They are the backbone of the NAHL and we are blessed to have some incredible players and talent in our league. However, the safety of our hockey community, including all of our players, is our top priority and the decision to cancel the remainder of the season was necessary and in the best interest of everyone involved.”
List of leagues keep growing, NHL and AHL in holding pattern
The QMJHL made this additional announcement:
The 2020 #QMJHL Entry Draft will be conducted online instead of being held in a public setting at the Palais des Sports Léopold-Drolet. Also, the annual session which were to be held from June 3rd to 5th have been cancelled.
— QMJHL (@QMJHL) March 18, 2020
As you can see in the list of links at the bottom of this post, the NHL pushed back the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season/start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to May. And, of course, that could change. The AHL made a similar announcement.
Follow this NBC News live update thread for more on the coronavirus pandemic.