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AHL and OHL announce target dates for returns to play

A bit of news!

Heather Barry / SB Nation

Things have been a bit quiet, as we’re sinking into the dark days of the off-season around here, but yesterday we got a flurry of news coming down, and that’s fun right? While the QMJHL has already resumed play, the rest of the CHL as well as the AHL are still working towards starting their own 2020-21 seasons. The OHL and AHL, though, seem to be inching closer, and both had news to report on their targets for start dates, as well as some logistical details.

So here’s what we know, starting with the OHL (per Jeff Marek’s reports):

They’re targeting February 4 for a start date, with American and European players arriving to quarantine on January 8, and training camp starting on January 23. They’re looking to play a 40 game season, which would end on May 16, when the playoffs would start. Four teams from each conference will make the playoffs, and the Memorial Cup is set to run June 17-27.

What still remains in question is how this will work with the three American teams (Erie, Flint, and Saginaw), if the border remains closed. We also don’t know how the games will be scheduled, and if there is the possibility of fans being allowed in.

As for the AHL, they’re targeting February 5 for the start of their season, and, well, that’s just about all we know. The AHL’s Return To Play task force is still meeting and working on ironing out some more details. We’ll update you all with the details on this as soon as we get them.

Now, all of this should be taken with a grain of salt, particularly where the dates are concerned. So much depends on what’s happening in the world, how safe it will be for the seasons to start. But we’re rolling with the punches around here, and this is the plan we’re working with for now.