Currently, the expectation is that the NHL will do whatever it can to finish the 2019-20 season in some manner at a later date. But that isn’t necessarily the case for the various minor and junior hockey leagues across the NHL.
For instance, the ECHL season has already been cancelled outright. That means the Idaho Steelheads, the Dallas Stars’ ECHL affiliate, won’t be heading to the playoffs for the 23rd consecutive year. As rookie head coach Evertt Sheen puts it:
“It’s weird, it’s an anti-climatic ending,” Sheen said. “We were playing well, the guys had really done a good job of helping me as a first-year head coach, and I think I’d done a good job of knowing them. We were playing really well and were battling for home-ice in the playoffs, and then it just ends. I’m not really sure how to break it down right now.”
Other leagues, like the AHL, might try to resume by going straight into the playoffs. That would be bad news for the Texas Stars, who were one point out of a playoff spot when the season paused:
“I think as a team, we started clicking and really buying in the second half of the season...” [head coach Neil] Graham said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen now (with the suspension), but I think we did our job in making sure we helped set things up better for the future.”
You can read more from Sean Shapiro here.
The Stars are halting their youth skating programs until further notice:
Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of COVID-19, the Children’s Health StarCenters will close, effective today (3/18) at 5pm until further notice. Please visit the link for info regarding our facilities. https://t.co/c8GEeHJ646— Children's Health StarCenter (@StarCenters) March 18, 2020
This should come as no surprise, but Alexander Radulov has officially tested negative for COVID-19:
Around the League
Depending on how the rest of the season goes, some NHL veterans might have played their last game already:
Greg Wyshynski gives you hockey-related options to entertain yourself for the next week or so in his latest Wysh List:
Feeling empty without hockey? I’ve designed a week of hockey viewing, reading and full games to watch to help fill the void. In today’s Wysh List: https://t.co/RwKNyrQJGz— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) March 19, 2020
In my opinion, this is probably due to the economic downturn, which would mean less merchandise sales upon announcement:
It appears that the wait to learn the nickname of Seattle's NHL team will continue, as the reveal has reportedly been put on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.https://t.co/ur8JZidhhg— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 18, 2020
Finally, even if we end up seeing hockey being played in August, don’t expect a shortened 2020-21 season in return: