The Idaho Steelheads’ streak of consecutive postseason appearances will be interrupted at 22.
The ECHL Board of Governors on Saturday approved the cancellation of the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
“The decision by the ECHL to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season does not come lightly, as this is an emotional time for our players, coaches, member teams, fans and staff,” ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin said in a news release. “At this point in the season, there has been immense dedication and countless hours committed in moving towards what is traditionally the most exciting part of the hockey year.”
The Steelhead issued a statement Saturday: “We are saddened that we were not able to finish the season for our players, our staff, our partners and especially our fans. However the health and safety of everyone is and must be our top priority. You have continued to show to the league why Steelheads fans are the best fanbase across the ECHL, and we cannot thank you enough for your unbridled support throughout the year.”
Following the lead of several professional leagues around the country, including the NHL and AHL, the ECHL suspended its season Thursday due to the coronavirus outbreak. After two days of consideration, the ECHL decided to cancel.
Idaho was in a tie for second place in the Mountain Division with 11 games left. The Steelheads finish with a record of 36-18-3-4 and 79 points. Division-leader Allen had a 40-14-6-2 record and 88 points.
“... As each passing day raises additional concerns for the safety of those in the ECHL community and as we take precautionary measures in conjunction with our local authorities across the continent to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it has become apparent that this is the prudent decision,” Crelin said. “Our game and our product are based on our fans and their ability to cheer on their favorite ECHL team and players at one of our many facilities around the continent. Without that social environment and game atmosphere, the ECHL simply isn’t the same.
Crelin went on to say, “On behalf of the ECHL and our Board of Governors, we appreciate the Professional Hockey Players’ Association for their assistance during this unprecedented time and working as partners in hockey to reach this decision for the best interest of the ECHL and its players. This decision allows our Players the opportunity to return to their homes and removes the uncertainty that currently exists. While we are hopeful that this period ceases and an opportunity to return to normalcy for the hockey calendar presents itself, in the interim, we ask all fans, players, coaches, officials and staff to continue to abide by the measures put in place by their local authorities and follow precautionary protocols for their safety, as we will begin preparations for the 2020-21 ECHL Hockey Season.”
The Steelheads had three home games remaining. They will be issuing a credit toward next season or refunds for the remaining home games.