Another team appears poised to sit out the ECHL season as Jeff Marek of Sportsnet reports that the Toledo Walleye will not play. Toledo was one of the five teams still waiting to start their season after 13 squads kicked things off a few weeks ago. The two groups were supposed to play varied schedule lengths to try and get as much hockey in as possible, but with another team dropping out there are obviously new questions raised about the viability of a full season.
Toledo joins the Cincinnati Cyclones, Idaho Steelheads, Kalamazoo Wings, Worcester Railers, Maine Mariners, Reading Royals, Newfoundland Growlers, Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Atlanta Gladiators, and Norfolk Admirals as teams that will not play the 2020-21 season but expected to return in 2021-22. The other team that had not yet decided, the Fort Wayne Komets, are expected to play according to Marek.
The Walleye are the ECHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, who will now not have the luxury of sending prospects down to the ECHL this season. That said, the Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL affiliate of the Red Wings, was not one of the teams that pulled out of the AHL season and should be able to house the team’s prospects just fine. Still, for Toledo, this is brutal news as the Walleye are one of the most successful organizations in the ECHL with a strong fanbase.