The American Hockey League moved its projected start of next season back to Feb. 5 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, president and CEO Scott Howson announced Wednesday.
The AHL is the top minor league below the NHL, which is targeting a Jan. 1.
“This gives us the best chance to have a significant season,” Howson said. “We’re going to be flexible and we’re going to do everything we can to play.”
The ECHL, one tier below the AHL, is hoping to start Dec. 11 with some teams, including the Komets, targeting Jan. 15.
While the ECHL starting play before the AHL has been a possibility for months, it's unclear if the AHL's announcement means players under NHL or AHL contracts wouldn't be available to ECHL teams at the start. The Komets are affiliated with the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights and AHL's Henderson Silver Knights.
ECHL teams in Atlanta and Norfolk, Virginia, have opted out of this season.