Hours after the ECHL announced the cancellation of the remainder of its 2019-20 campaign, the SPHL has announced that it is following suit and nixing the balance of its season.
In a statement released early Sunday evening, the SPHL stated the decision to cancel what was left of the 2019-20 season, including the entire post-season, came following a unanimous vote by the league's Board of Governors.
"The decision made to cancel the remainder of the regular season and playoffs was extremely difficult," commissioner Doug Price said in a statement. "Difficult in the fact that it brings a premature end to what was shaping up to be a tremendous and potentially historic finish to the season. Two teams were tied for first place, two points separated third through sixth place and one point separated the final four teams. We were all very excited for the last several weeks of hockey.
"But what was not difficult was knowing it was absolutely the responsible decision. It was a decision for our players, coaches and game officials. It was a decision for our fans, team staff and arena personnel. What we are all facing right now is bigger than the SPHL, bigger than hockey and bigger than sports."
Price continued by stating that mandates by individual states were set to prevent "multiple teams from playing until at least May 1," and given the uncertainty, the decision was made in an effort to focus on the safety of players, team personnel and game-day staff throughout the SPHL.
"Jeopardizing even one person’s health in an attempt to continue the season is not a risk we were willing to even remotely consider," Price added. "That is not who we are as a league, because we too are a league of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters."
Price said the league will get to work with anticipation of beginning the campaign as scheduled in 2020-21.
Want more in-depth features and analysis? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.