The American Hockey League announced Wednesday morning that the league would be targeting a start date of February 5th.
And it begs the question; could the NHL follow suit in targeting early February for the start of the next season?
In a statement, the AHL said the league’s board of governors had approved the date change and that they will continue “to work with its member clubs to monitor developments and local guidelines in all 31 league cities.”
So what’s next for the NHL?
The league has said they are targeting a start date around Jan. 1, but last week deputy commissioner Bill Daly said it might not be possible.
“The goal is still to start as early as Jan. 1 and to play a full season,” Daly said. “Having said that, we also recognize, depending on a host of different things, that it could take a different form and we might not be playing a full season, we might not be playing into the summer, we might not be starting on Jan. 1. So there’s still a lot of uncertainty.” nhl.com
And there’s no big surprise in that. Cases across North America have been spiking — including here in Alberta — and that’s going to make things hard for sports leagues. The NFL is in the midst of their season and have been relatively successful in keeping case numbers low among players and staff across the league.
Meanwhile, the World Series Championship was handed out last night with one player from the LA Dodgers testing positive and being removed in the midst of the final game.
Alberta is also headmanning a pilot project surrounding shrinking quarantine times by utilizing rapid testing. If it’s successful and is able to grow on a national level, it might help to re-open the border in some aspect. That would be a huge development for the NHL as its the one pro sports league with multiple Canadian sports teams.
But in the same breath, things could change literally overnight so what’s ahead is really hard to project.
On Twitter: @zjlaing