The North American Hockey League has targeted October 9th as their return to play date. That date however is flexible as first reported here on TJHN last week.
Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld has now confirmed that different start dates for each of its divisions are possible due to individual State and local City guidelines for COVID-19.
Speaking to USA Hockey Frankenfeld said;
“We’ve scheduled in a way so that the divisions are able to start later if they want,” Frankenfeld said. “Our goal is to play all 60 games. But with all of the different rules and regulations in each state, we can’t just make one general guideline. We have to follow the data from the states and cities.”
A close examination of the COVID-19 guidelines for each State would make it look as though only the East Division has a chance to start play on October 9th. This simply due to travel and quarantine restrictions in place with New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, and Maryland. Couple this with attendance restrictions in Pennsylvania and other States, and you have the Eastern division playing games without fans in the buildings.
The South Division has a chance to start on October 9th as well while some teams would need to start their season on the road in Texas.
The Mid West and Central Divisions do not look to be starting until the end of October or possibly November. Attendance and other indoor assembly restrictions in place would make it nearly impossible to get two teams on the ice at one time.
You could also see some shuffling or creative scheduling from the league with some teams playing large portions of the beginning of the season on the road. Jamestown and Johnstown could be early candidates to spend most of autumn in New England.
As we inch closer to a return to play, every league is being cautious. As the virus continues to spread at alarming rates, all of these plans made could just as easily be scrapped.
If we want hockey, any hockey to be played, everyone needs to wear a mask and social distance. Whether you believe in the virus or not, just do it. Do it for your neighbor, or your own child so they can get their life back.
Is it really so much to ask so that we can all go back to playing the greatest game on earth?
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser