The ECHL announced that the league will be shutting down for the rest of the season. The ECHL Board of Governors approved the cancelation of both their remaining regular season games as well as the playoffs due to the Coronavirus.
ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin released a statement:
“The decision by the ECHL to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 Season does not come lightly, as this is an emotional time for our Players, Coaches, Member Teams, Fans and Staff. At this point in the Season, there has been immense dedication and countless hours committed in moving towards what is traditionally the most exciting part of the hockey year.
With that said however, as each passing day raises additional concerns for the safety of those in the ECHL community and as we take precautionary measures in conjunction with our local authorities across the continent to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it has become apparent that this is the prudent decision. Our game and our product are based on our Fans and their ability to cheer on their favorite ECHL team and Players at one of our many facilities around the continent. Without that social environment and game atmosphere, the ECHL simply isn’t the same.
“On behalf of the ECHL and our Board of Governors, we appreciate the Professional Hockey Players’ Association for their assistance during this unprecedented time and working as partners in hockey to reach this decision for the best interest of the ECHL and its Players. This decision allows our Players the opportunity to return to their homes and removes the uncertainty that currently exists.
“While we are hopeful that this period ceases and an opportunity to return to normalcy for the hockey calendar presents itself, in the interim, we ask all Fans, Players, Coaches, Officials, and Staff to continue to abide by the measures put in place by their local authorities and follow precautionary protocols for their safety, as we will begin preparations for the 2020-21 ECHL Hockey Season.”
While the AHL and NHL both currently have suspended their seasons, the ECHL is the first of the three to cancel their season. The ECHL announced on Thursday that they had suspended their season due to concerns about the COVID-19 epidemic. The ECHL is the first league in North America to have cancelled their season, although several leagues in Europe have already cancelled their seasons.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the news.