While this news happened Monday, I’ve need some time to process the NAHL announcement of their opening night. Of course, with what’s gone on in sports already this year; this announcement is met with cautious optimism. We all want the show to go on, but you have to wonder how the landscape will look even three months from now.
The basics of this announcement is that the 2020-21 season will start October 9th with a schedule coming out around September 1st. With the later start, that pushes back other things, with the NAHL Showcase moving to December 16-19, the Top Prospects Tournament moving to February 8th and 9th, and the Robertson Cup happening May 21st to 25th.
It’s great news and something that came a lot quicker than though, as commissioner Mark Frankenfeld said during the Draft last week there’d be something in the next few weeks– not just six days from when he last spoke. But, as I mentioned earlier, it’s cautious optimism that must be held in this. Looking at the sporting landscape, we see how things can work out well and how things can turn on a dime.
Sports that are regulated within a bubble have been fine with testing and quarantining and the like. However, when you look at Major League Baseball and their traveling all over the US; things haven’t been as great for testing. That’s a fear I have with the NAHL in that they are going to have young kids moving about each and every weekend. Granted, these players are monitored very closely with billets at home and by the team on the road, but there’s always cause for concern when it comes to this.
Another aspect is how different cities and states look at outsiders coming into their state from what could be considered a high-risk area. Many states have isolation restrictions for certain areas, which means some teams may not be able to play in certain locales because of that restriction. On top of that, fans in attendance move a lot of teams in terms of revenue and the question will become if fans will be allowed in the area, how many fans, and what that could do to some teams in the league. It may not be as bad as the minor leagues may face, but it could be cause of a bit of concern for some teams.
Regardless of how it turns out months from now, there’s a speck of hope going forward with the NAHL season returning in a bit of a delayed timeline. Let’s just hope things continue to be on the right track and stays on the proper track to get a full season in.