No AHL champ this season
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The American Hockey League, the NHL’s top minor league, announced on Monday that it has canceled the remainder of its regular season and won’t hold the Calder Cup playoffs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AHL season had been on hold since March 12 when the NHL also hit the pause button.
While NHL officials remain hopeful of resuming their 2019-20 regular season and/or Stanley Cup playoffs at some point this summer, the AHL won’t crown a champion for the first time since the league was formed in 1936.
The Charlotte (N.C.) Checkers, the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate, won the Calder Cup last season.
“After a lengthy review process, the American Hockey League has determined that the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 season is not feasible in light of current conditions," AHL president David Andrews said in a statement. "The league's operational focus has turned toward actively preparing for the 2020-21 season.
"We are very grateful to the National Hockey League and its teams for their support and leadership in navigating through the challenges faced over the past two months.
"The AHL continues to place paramount importance on the health and safety of our players, officials, staff and fans and all of their families, and we all look forward to returning to our arenas in 2020-21."
The Colorado Eagles, the Avalanche’s AHL affiliate, finished second in the Pacific Division and fourth in the Western Conference with a 34-18-3-1 record and 72 points.
“This is an unparalleled event in the history of the Colorado Eagles,” Eagles president and general manager Chris Stewart said in a statement. “Having been in constant contact with the American Hockey League and the board of governors, I know that this was not a decision that was made lightly.
“We appreciate the exhaustive options that were explored by the AHL to determine the proper course of action. We hope all of our fans and their families remain healthy and happy during this trying time and we look forward to welcoming all of you back inside the Budweiser Events Center next season.”
Season ticket holders and other fans who purchased single-game seats for any of the remaining 12 games can go to ColoradoEagles.com/seasoncancellation for information and options.
Team staff can be reached by phone at (970) 686-7468.
The Avalanche went into the NHL pause in second place in the Western Conference and Central Division with a 42-20-8 record and 90 points, two points behind St. Louis with a game in hand.
The ECHL canceled its remaining season and playoffs in March. The Utah Grizzlies, who are affiliated with the Avalanche, were third in the Mountain Division with a 34-17-7-4 record and 79 points.