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IceHogs begin planning for upcoming season

Published: Dec. 26, 2020 at 7:20 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The National Hockey League’s announcement this week of its season beginning in January has set the path for its minor league partners to start planning their seasons. When that will start is still up in the air. The IceHogs are preparing for another run at the Calder Cup, with the possibility of no fans

The American Hockey League hopes to get its season underway in the coming months. An announcement could be made as soon as next week. The IceHogs have not played a game since March. General Manager Mark Bernard said he still does not know what it will look like when the games return.

“The biggest point for us right now, is getting these players back on the ice and starting their development process again,” said Bernard. “It’s important to get them in house and start working with them with their conditioning off the ice, their conditioning on the ice, different skills. there’s a lot that we can be doing with them once we get them back here. It’s not normal circumstances for anybody in the world right now, but we’re doing the best to keep the players engaged and hopefully we’ll have them back here on the ice soon.

Bernard said IceHogs medical trainer D.J. Jones is on the committee to figure out COVID-19 protocols for the league. Bernard imagines it will be similar to what the NHL has implemented. He also said they’ll listen to whatever the AHL decides about fans in the stands.

“I think it’s going to be a big difference, especially if there’s no fans in the building per the state rules,” said Bernard.

“It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be really tough for the independent owners of the American Hockey League, because that’s where your money comes from. For paying for the team to travel, and paying for the per diems and paying for all the different items you have to pay along the way. It’s going to be very tough for the league. But I know the NHL and the American Hockey League work closely together and we’ll be able to figure it out and make it work.”

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