ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Amerks season is over as the AHL canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 season and the 2020 Calder Cup Playoffs.
The AHL suspended play on March 12th with the Amerks in second place in the North Division with 14 games remaining in the regular season.
While the decision was inevitable, Amerks head coach Chris Taylor expressed his disappointment his team was unable to have a proper end to the season.
“You know it’s tough on all our players. All they want to do is play,” says Taylor. “When you work hard all this time it’s just tough to come to an end without going to the players and all that so I think that’s the hardest part.”
“It’s disappointing because I think as an organization and as a team, we were making great progress particularly in many areas of the game,” says Amerks general manager Randy Sexton. “But at the end of the day, the single most important thing is that we provide a safe environment for everybody, our staff, our coaches, our players, our fans.”
Amerks Vice President of Business Operations Rob Minter released a statement regarding the cancelation thanking Rochester fans for their support over the years.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your unwavering support, not just for this past season, but for all the years that the Amerks have been in Rochester. The organization has seen many changes over the years, but the one constant has been you, the fans. Each of you has played an integral part in shaping our franchise’s rich and storied history,” he says.
Both Taylor and Sexton were already thinking about what next year may hold.
Taylor says that while the NHL can most likely play without fans, unlike the AHL, for the NHL to properly function they would have to have some sort of a minor league season in order to develop players. It would also be important to have an AHL team playing to keep guys in shape and ready to get called up to the NHL if needed.
While a season in front of no fans could be on the table, Taylor is hoping that’s not the case.
“You always want to hope for the best that everything reopens and we can play in front of fans because the fans are most important. They’re the ones that gets the team going, they’re the energy in the building, they’re everything,” he says. “It would be nice to play in front of fans but we understand what everybody’s going through right now so we’ve just got to take it one day at a time.”
Sexton believes that the hockey fans shouldn’t be too concerned about the long-term future of the AHL, saying that the league is in as good of shape as ever.
“It’s a very resilient league. The Amerks have been around for a long time, it’s a resilient franchise,” he says. “I don’t think that the American League has ever been stronger in terms of the depth of the league, the quality of franchises, the quality of ownership.”
Amerks fans can get a full refund for tickets already purchased and have the option to use the credit for future games.