In a press release from the AHL, the league stated that it would be back December 4, 2020. That’s right, just in time for the holidays.
So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case. (Cross your fingers all the teams can take to the ice again next season!)
A press release dated July 30, 2020, explained that the AHL’s official start date for the 2020-2021 season is planned for December 4. This might seem late, but it’s likely due to concerns regarding the pandemic.
Oddly, the Icehogs also released the same press release but titled it
2020-21 AHL Season To Begin No Earlier Than Dec. 4
It’s not clear why there’s a discrepancy about how firm the actual start date is, but perhaps December 4th is only a tentative date.
Regardless, this is great news as the IceHogs will (probably) be back in action, and Chicago’s next generation of talent will be able to play. Next year’s team should be pretty strong defensively, and boast an AHL all-star in net (Kevin Lankinen).
Defensemen Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, Alec Regula, and Cha Krys will likely be the defensive backbone of the team, and that’s as strong a group as fans have seen for quite a while.
Two of those players (Beaudin and Regula) are currently traveling with the Blackhawks in Edmonton for the postseason. Krys didn’t make the roster for the final cut, and Mitchell wasn’t eligible to play this year.
The AHL being back in action is great news, as it means that the league is likely taking cues from the NHL’s return to play, and have decided upon what they believe to be a viable plan.
Over the last few years, the Chicago Blackhawks haven’t been as good fans would like, but the new guys can plan on quality ice time with Rockford come December.
It could very well mean no fans in the building, but Rockford will be able to ice a strong line-up regardless of how Chicago does during the current postseason.
At the end of the day, this is great news if it all works out, and hockey fans in Chicago may very well have another team worth keeping an eye on.