The North American Hockey League, and the NA3HL under its umbrella announced October start dates yesterday. Lets give them credit for announcing those dates at this time. At least now some parents and players can begin to plan.
That said, the announced season start dates do not mean every team will begin play on October 2 in the NA3HL or October 9 in the NAHL. Much later start dates for some teams are actually planned.
The NAHL and NA3HL had to come out and say something. I sure don’t blame them for saying it how they did. Lets be honest though, October is not a realistic target for everyone in both leagues.
The COVID-19 pandemic is making its rounds through the United States. Nearly every community has been touched by it in one way or another.
Looking at the map of the United States and current COVID-19 restrictions within those States regarding travel, indoor seating capacity limitations, social distancing requirements, and other safety measures, its pretty clear many teams wont be playing in the beginning of October.
While I believe the teams in the Frontier Division of the NA3HL will play in early October, and the teams in the NA3HL North East Division could play within their Division, I don’t see much else being likely unless no fans are allowed in the buildings.
In the NAHL it gets a lot more complicated. These teams rely on ticket and advertising sales. I have to say that setting an October 9 start date took some serious balls on the part of the league. There are only a few markets that can pull it off unless COVID conditions change drastically in the coming weeks.
The proof of how this all plays out will be when the schedules are released, which unfortunately is over a month away. The question to be answered between now and then…..
Are players and parents willing to wait and see if their season will actually begin on those early October dates, or as the COVID pandemic rages on, will those start dates be limited to a few isolated divisions?
Stay tuned, this story is far from over.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser