ECHL Cancels Remainder of Season and Playoffs

Posted March 14, 2020

Parker Milner. Courtesy Sarah Hobday

The ECHL announced tonight the cancellation of the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season and the Kelly Cup Playoffs. No Kelly Cup will be awarded.

ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin released the following statement.

The decision by the ECHL to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 Season does not come lightly, as this is an emotional time for our Players, Coaches, Member Teams, Fans and Staff.   At this point in the Season, there has been immense dedication and countless hours committed in moving towards what is traditionally the most exciting part of the hockey year.

With that said however, as each passing day raises additional concerns for the safety of those in the ECHL community and as we take precautionary measures in conjunction with our local authorities across the continent to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it has become apparent that this is the prudent decision.  Our game and our product are based on our Fans and their ability to cheer on their favorite ECHL team and Players at one of our many facilities around the continent.  Without that social environment and game atmosphere, the ECHL simply isn’t the same.

On behalf of the ECHL and our Board of Governors, we appreciate the Professional Hockey Players’ Association for their assistance during this unprecedented time and working as partners in hockey to reach this decision for the best interest of the ECHL and its Players.  This decision allows our Players the opportunity to return to their homes and removes the uncertainty that currently exists.

While we are hopeful that this period ceases and an opportunity to return to normalcy for the hockey calendar presents itself, in the interim, we ask all Fans, Players, Coaches, Officials, and Staff to continue to abide by the measures put in place by their local authorities and follow precautionary protocols for their safety, as we will begin preparations for the 2020-21 ECHL Hockey Season.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the 2019-20 season has been canceled,” said Stingrays President Rob Concannon in a release. “We are in uncharted territory with the uncertainty of what the future may hold in regards to COVID-19, but I understand why this decision was made.

“We were having such a special year on and off the ice,” Concannon said. “I’d like to recognize the efforts of our head coach Steve Bergin, assistant coach Ryan Blair, all of our players and hockey staff as well as our hard-working front office.”

“I, too, am very disappointed that the Stingrays season has come to a premature end,” said Principal Owner Todd Halloran. “I want to commend our players, coaches, staff and front office for a tremendous season. We had great expectations for a successful and exciting playoff run. Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus compel us to turn our attention to the safety of our players, fans, Stingray employees, North Charleston Coliseum staff, and other partners. We can’t thank them enough for their contributions to what has been a very successful season. We look forward to a period of safe and healthy normalcy as we prepare for the 2020-21 season.”

The ECHL followed the rest of the sports world in announcing the suspension of the season amid the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) concerns on Thursday.

“As the on-going developments regarding COVID-19 in North America continue and precautionary measures ensue to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the ECHL has suspended the 2019-20 Season for the safety of our Fans, Players, and Employees,” the league said in a statement. “The ECHL and its Member Teams continue to work with national and local health officials and local governance to monitor the situation. In the interim, we encourage those in the ECHL community to take precautions and stay safe during this time.”

“The Stingrays staff remains committed to the health and safety of fans, players and staff. We will continue to provide updates as available. More information for season ticket holders, group ticket holders and any other fans who purchased tickets will be available beginning Monday,” the release concluded.

The South Carolina Stingrays had already clinched a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. They are tied for the lead in the league in both points with 92 and points percentage .742 with division rival, the Florida Everblades. Both teams had played 62 of the 72 game regular season.

The Capitals and Stingrays affiliation agreement is set to expire at the end of this season. The Caps have one prospect, Kris Bindulis, with the Stingrays. He has 23 points in 50 games, and he’s a RFA at the end of the year.