The American Hockey League has announced today that three of the 31 teams have opted out of the 2020-21 AHL season. The Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Admirals and Springfield Thunderbirds will all sit out the upcoming season. The projected start for this year’s AHL campaign is Friday, February 5th 2021.
28 teams will be participating in @TheAHL's 2020-21 season, which opens Feb. 5
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) January 4, 2021
Three teams Opt-Out of 2020-21 AHL Season
Each teams’ decision to opt-out of the AHL season has primarily been made due to fiscal ramifications, logistical concerns and the current health and safety standards within each team’s respective states. However, the Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Admirals and Springfield Thunderbirds will rejoin the rest of the league for the 2021-22 season.
The Charlotte Checkers are the primary affiliate for the Florida Panthers. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Admirals are the main prospect pipeline for the Nashville Predators and the Springfield Thunderbirds are affiliates of the St Louis Blues.
In response to the uncertainty, the St Louis Blues have announced that their prospects will join the Utica Comets for the 2020-21 AHL season. Elsewhere the Predators and Panthers have yet to announce plans for their prospects’ relocation for the season.
Meanwhile, the remaining 28 teams of the AHL will participate in realignment based on geographical location for the 2020-21 season. This mirrors the same action taken by the NHL for its upcoming season. There will be five divisions: the Atlantic, Canadian, North, Central and Pacific. The season will have a 24-game minimum for each team. Further details regarding scheduling format and playoffs have yet to be determined.
Among other logistical moves taken by the AHL, there have also been four team relocations. The Binghamton Devils will play in Newark, NJ, the Ontario Reign will play in El Segundo, CA, the Providence Bruins will play in Marlborough, MA and the San Diego Gulls will play in Irvine, CA.