The ECHL announced on Monday that the Cincinnati Cyclones (Buffalo Sabres affiliate), Idaho Steelheads (Dallas Stars affiliate) and the Kalamazoo Wings (Vancouver Canucks) , will be suspending play for the 2020-21 season under the league’s policy for COVID-19.
They join the Adirondack Thunder, an affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, the Brampton Beast (Ottawa Senators), Maine Mariners (New York Rangers), Newfoundland Growlers (Toronto Maple Leafs), Reading Royals (Philadelphia Flyers) and Worcester Railers (New York Islanders), who officially opted out on November 18.
They join the Atlanta Gladiators (Boston Bruins) and Norfolk Admirals (independent) who had already opted out. That makes it 11 out of 26 teams, almost half the league that has bowed out due to the pandemic.
The Washington Capitals ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stungrsys began play last night with a 6-3 win over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in their lone preseason game prior to the start of the 2020-21 season on Saturday at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
MORE FROM THE ECHL
The ECHL announced on Monday that the Cincinnati Cyclones, Idaho Steelheads and Kalamazoo Wings will be suspending play for the 2020-21 ECHL season under the League’s policy for COVID-19. All teams are set to return in the 2021-22 ECHL season.
“This decision for our clubs was immensely difficult amidst the everchanging landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability to return to play throughout our various jurisdictions,” said ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin. “We look forward to returning fans and ECHL hockey in these great markets as they shift their focus to the 2021-22 Season.”
Under the terms of the ECHL/PHPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, all Players who have signed ECHL contracts with Cincinnati, Idaho and Kalamazoo are free agents for the 2020-21 season immediately.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 26 teams in 19 states and two Canadian provinces for its 33rd season in 2020-21. There have been 678 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 16 who made their NHL debuts in the 2019-20 season. The ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 31 NHL teams in 2019-20, marking the 23rd consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.