The North American Hockey League lost another team yesterday when the Springfield Jr. Blues informed the league they would be taking the year off.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Illinois Governor’s office all but putting an end to competitive hockey in Illinois this season, the Blues did what we all knew they would eventually do.
The issues in Springfield have been well known and talked about in hockey circles for more than a month now. The Governor of Illinois had determined that ice hockey is a high risk sport and that it can not be played unless at the collegiate or professional levels.
This means no junior hockey with fans, or youth hockey as we know it.
While players can practice and play with modified rules, the orders make it impossible to have real games being played with fans. This means parents and everyone else with players are not allowed in the buildings.
With the widespread footprint of the NAHL this likely will not be the last team to go dark or face challenges operating this season.
The ever changing COVID-19 pandemic and evolving State by State rules will make it near impossible for any league to operate without issues this season.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser