AHL still targeting Feb. 5 as start date for upcoming season

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The American Hockey League remains on course to start its season in early February.

What that actually looks like in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic remains to be seen.

AHL president and CEO Scott Howson said in a statement Wednesday the league's board of governors "has approved the structural framework" for a schedule slated to begin Feb. 5 — the same target date announced in late October.

"Details are still being worked out," Howson continued. "But this step allows our teams and their National Hockey League partners to better determine their plans for the coming season."

The NHL, which will have all seven of its Canadian teams play against each other in the same division because of border restrictions related to the pandemic, is scheduled to open its season Jan. 13.

All 31 clubs in the second-tier AHL are affiliated with NHL teams. The league has four franchises based in Canada — the Manitoba Moose, Toronto Marlies, Belleville Senators and Laval Rocket.

The AHL, which relies heavily on ticket sales for revenue, didn't say how many of its teams plan to take part in the upcoming season.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press