PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced Wednesday that each of the six teams in the North Division – Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Maine Mariners, Newfoundland Growlers, Reading Royals and Worcester Railers, have elected a Voluntary Suspension for the 2020-2021 ECHL Season under the League’s policy for COVID-19. The teams will return to play in the 2021-2022 ECHL season.
“This is an unfortunate day for the ECHL and our fans, staff and players in the North Division,” said ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin. “While it is gratifying to have the North Division unify and collectively make this difficult decision together amidst their jurisdictional restrictions, it is immensely disappointing that an entire region of fans and Players will not be able to have ECHL hockey until the 2021-22 Season.”
“This has been a very disappointing decision for the Brampton Beast," said President and General Manager Cary Kaplan. "We tried everything we could to see if a season was possible. Unfortunately, along with the other five teams in our division, we just couldn’t see a path forward to playing this season. In addition to the dramatic fan restrictions, we also still operate in an environment with a closed US border.”
"We now turn our attention to October 2021 and we are very optimistic to bring Beast hockey back to our Brampton fans and community partners," said Kaplan.
Under the terms of the ECHL/PHPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, all Players from the Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Maine Mariners, Newfoundland Growlers, Reading Royals and Worcester Railers are free agents for the 2020-21 Season immediately.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 26 teams in 19 states and two Canadian provinces for its 32nd season in 2019-20.There have been 676 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 14 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2019-20 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 31 NHL teams in 2019-20, marking the 23rd consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook