The American Hockey League will continue with 28 teams this season after it was announced on Monday that three were due to the COVID-19 pandemic

“Based on the information I received, I wasn’t sure we would be reaching 28 teams two weeks ago, but I think some of the teams were excited and figured out a way to make it work” said AHL President and CEO Scott Howson said over the phone “It’s a good day for the AHL except for the three who can’t attend and obviously we know their reasons and they are legitimate and they will go ahead and plan for 21-22 ”

The Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Admirals and Springfield Thunderbirds have signed out and will return in 2021-22, the AHL said these teams are members of the Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and St Louis Blues

The Blues say they reached an agreement to send players to Utica, New York, the Vancouver Canucks ‘top farming team. The Predators are considering their options while the Panthers’ plans were not immediately clear

“There are several challenges related to travel, safety and player care,” said Michael Kahn, Owner and CEO of Checkers. “These and the increasing number of new cases in our area make it very unlikely that we will become fans in the near future can record our games ”

Howson said only a few AHL teams can currently host fans, including the Texas Stars and Tucson Roadrunners, which is why most are planning on significantly reduced sales, which will cost three teams this season

Unfortunately the prospect of playing the season without fans and generating no income was too difficult, “said Admiral owner and CEO Harris Turer

Nineteen AHL teams are owned by their NHL parent club, and the other nine that manage to play are a win for the league, which is on track to start its season on February 5 with temporary realignment / p>

“I think it just shows the collaboration between the NHL partner and the independent AHL team,” said Howson. “They all figured out a way to get it working and they all worked together in not easy times ”

Four teams will play home games elsewhere this season: the Binghamton Devils in Newark, New Jersey; San Diego Seagulls in Irvine, California; Ontario Reign in El Segundo, California; and Providence Bruins in Marlborough, Massachusetts

Howson anticipates a variation in the games between the Atlantic with three teams, Canadian with four teams, North with seven teams, Central with six teams and Pacific with eight teams for the four Canada-based protocols Toronto Marlies, Laval Rocket, Belleville Senators and Manitoba Moose are pending health and safety protocols

“We’re trying to understand where the American Hockey League will fit into this year and how it might have to work for us,” Kevin Cheveldayoff, general manager of Winnipeg Jets, said last week regarding Manitoba. “There’s been a lot of discussion behind the scenes that are still going on there ”


World news – FI – AHL to push the season forward after 3 opt-out