Rockford entertainment leaders discuss future of IceHogs 2021 season
Leaders and staff discuss what the upcoming hockey season will look like in the midst of COVID-19
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “We’re hoping as a staff, we can get some kind of season in here,” said Mike Peck, head of Rockford IceHogs Public Relations.
Mike Peck enters his 20th season working with the Rockford IceHogs, and like many members of the community, he looks forward to the time of year when the Hogs hit the ice. However, with COVID-19 cases surging and safety efforts limiting activities, the team’s 2021 season remains unclear.
“We’re optimistic that we’ll be able to get a season in. I know February 5th is the date that’s been targeted right now by the American Hockey League,” said Peck.
While that might be the AHL’s target date, the Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority Board, or RAVE, which oversees operations at the BMO Harris Bank Center, has many other factors to consider before allowing the IceHogs’ season to proceed.
“It’s quite possible that depending on what the state says, and what the league says, there could be some initial games with no fans,” said RAVE Chairman Craig Thomas. “Those are all things that are being discussed and evaluated.”
While the community remains optimistic about another season of hockey, so do downtown businesses. Thomas said they rely on BMO Harris Bank Center events for a good portion of their revenue.
“We recognize that because our buildings are dark, that’s hurting all the bars and restaurants and other businesses in the area,” said Thomas.
IceHogs staff and RAVE leaders also hope a hockey season will give the community a much-needed mental boost.
“The IceHogs seem to be the one common denominator this community can rally behind,” said Peck.
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