That’s right, the American Hockey League recently announced that teams will return to play on February 5. The following statement comes from the AHL President and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Howson:
“The American Hockey League Board of Governors has approved the structural framework for an AHL season that will begin on February 5, 2021. Details are still being worked out, but this step allows our teams and their National Hockey League partners to better determine their plans for the coming season. We look forward to dropping the puck on Feb. 5.”
This is certainly music to the ears of hockey fans everywhere, but there is a level of curiosity to this announcement. The AHL is a gate-driven league, meaning their survival is based on ticket sales of people attending games in person. While vaccines are being administered to the public as we speak, this is being done so in minuscule amounts when compared to the actual size of the populace. Combine that aspect with how the AHL makes its money and one begins to wonder…
How will the AHL make its money?
With arenas and stadiums not being able to allow people entry in any significant capacity or entry period in some cases, it becomes apparent the league will continue to take a financial hit. Join the crowd, right? It’s still an unfortunate situation and one of the parent clubs of the AHL teams may need to absorb in some fashion. As Howson’s statement says, though, they’re definitely returning in five weeks, but there are a lot of “how’s” and “why’s” still to be determined.
Will the Monsters and the rest of the league play in empty arenas, to begin with? Will some trickle of fans be allowed to attend games? The AHL will address these things in the coming weeks. Until then, let us just take a moment to embrace this reality that hockey is coming back and we will have our Monsters to cheer for once again.