The Hockey Industry Cannot Get Its Product On Ice Because Of COVID-19

The NHL is just another league with COVID-19 problems.

National Hockey League owners and players are attempting to get the 2020-2021 season going but the initial hope to start the season by January 1st will not happen. But the NHL is not the only hockey league in North America. The American Hockey League is hoping to start in February while the Class AA level ECHL has run into all sorts of problems because of COVID-19. The ECHL has a five-game opening night schedule slated for December 11th but what is more telling is the number of teams that will not ice a team this year. The ECHL has 26 members but 11 teams have opted out of the season. Glens Falls, New York, Brampton, Ontario, Portland, Maine, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Reading, Pennsylvania, Worcester, Massachusetts, Norfolk, Virginia, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Boise, Idaho and Kalamazoo, Michigan owners did not see a clear path to playing this year.

In Canada, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has tried to play with surging cases of COVID-19 being reported in eastern Canada. The league has suspended play with an early January target date for reopening. The Ontario Hockey League hopes to get going in February without body contact on ice. The Western Hockey League has a January tentative start. Both the OHL and WHL have American-based teams which may be a problem as the US-Canadian border is shut. College hockey has been impacted as well as youth leagues throughout the northeast. The NHL could also have problems, if an agreement is reached soon on the start of the season, in Montreal, Winnipeg and San Jose. There are local COVID-19 restrictions. San Jose is part of the Santa Clara County, California area and local health officials are not allowing the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers to play or practice in the county. COVID-19 continues to plague the world and in a smaller sense, the hockey world.

Tampa Bay Lightning’s Brayden Point (21) scores against Dallas Stars goalie Anton Khudobin (35) as Stars’ Andrej Sekera (5) and Mattias Janmark (13) defend during first-period NHL Stanley Cup finals hockey game action in Edmonton, Alberta, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.