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Roanokehockey

League Targets Mid-December Start Date

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SPHL Announces Target Start for 2020-20201 Season

 

HUNTSVILLE, N.C. – The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) today announced that it is targeting mid-to-late December for the start of the 2020-2021 regular season.

 “With the continued spikes in COVID-19 throughout the country and the challenges other sports are facing in their attempts to resume play, delaying our start to December gives us the best chance of completing an entire season with all 10 teams,” stated Commissioner Doug Price. “In addition, various state restrictions on large gatherings and the economics surrounding the uncertainty of having fans in our arenas in October or November, even at reduced capacity, make it difficult for teams to guarantee the ability to generate the revenue needed to operate if we were to start any earlier.”

“After a healthy discussion among our Board of Governors, we just felt there are too many variables out of our control at this time to attempt starting on time,” added Price. “Delaying the season was a difficult decision, but I believe it was the responsible thing to do when taking everything into consideration.”

 The 2020-2021 regular season schedule and playoff format will be announced at a later date.

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Will be interesting to see what calibre of player will be available in December with Christmas and the holiday season, will the majority of them play in Canada or other countries that open earlier. This season will be something to see, if indeed there is even a season or will we have to settle for a return of Beer League Hockey.

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I doubt there will be a season. Since many (idiots) people are screaming for schools to open up 100% there will likely be an increase in cases and cause all of this to go on even longer. 

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Listen, I hope there’s SPHL hockey, I really do. But it would be irresponsible for me to not to ask the obvious question: why is the situation going to magically get better between November and December? This has a feeling of one of these dates that gets set by optimists and later pushed.

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I wonder what makes them think things will be any better in December than they will be in October. I realize it is a target date that can be changed if needed, but I cannot see the state restrictions dropping. If the number of cases keeps rising, they are more likely to increase than decrease. Not only that but the only leagues I can see finishing a complete season are the ones who can use a bubble concept and that will not work for us. If a basically non contact sport like baseball whose players chose not to use the bubble concept could not make it through the first weekend without encountering problems, how is a contact sport like hockey in a league which due to financial impact can't use the bubble going to pull it off? I just do not see it happening.

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7 minutes ago, Theoriginalalex said:

Listen, I hope there’s SPHL hockey, I really do. But it would be irresponsible for me to not to ask the obvious question: why is the situation going to magically get better between November and December? This has a feeling of one of these dates that gets set by optimists and later pushed.

The owners need to keep hope alive among the fan bases & business communities/sponsors to keep their businesses afloat.  They probably figured a one-to-two month slip gives them more planning time plus season ticket & advertising sales opportunities during a part of the season when attendance numbers are historically low.  There's only so much they can control, and giving up now leaves too much possible money on the poker table.

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42 minutes ago, Theoriginalalex said:

Listen, I hope there’s SPHL hockey, I really do. But it would be irresponsible for me to not to ask the obvious question: why is the situation going to magically get better between November and December? 

Maybe everyone will eat Lucky Charms cereal:

LUCKY CHARMS T-Shirt Magically Delicious Breakfast Cereal ...

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1 hour ago, JMC-STL said:

The owners need to keep hope alive among the fan bases & business communities/sponsors to keep their businesses afloat.  They probably figured a one-to-two month slip gives them more planning time plus season ticket & advertising sales opportunities during a part of the season when attendance numbers are historically low.  There's only so much they can control, and giving up now leaves too much possible money on the poker table.

Exactly. They need to have a (semi-)concrete start date in order to make all the arrangements for everything that is required to put on a season, from facility dates to vendors to who knows what. Of course, they're assuming there will be a sufficient flattening of the curve by then. If not, it will probably still be easier to postpone already established dates as needed.

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Hopefully by December things have calmed down nationwide. A problem that may hurt attendance is what will local fall sports do?  If they are playing in December as some are considering it could really hurt attendance.

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1 hour ago, MacGuy said:

Exactly. They need to have a (semi-)concrete start date in order to make all the arrangements for everything that is required to put on a season, from facility dates to vendors to who knows what. Of course, they're assuming there will be a sufficient flattening of the curve by then. If not, it will probably still be easier to postpone already established dates as needed.

image.jpeg

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Season is seemingly on life support but I imagine they will have to officially "pull the plug" eventually. How many fans and sponsors will keep investing money in future tickets, sponsorships, merchandise, etc. remains to be seen. I hope all the leagues get to play a 2020-2021 season (even if it's shortened), but I have my doubts it'll happen at all - at least in minor leagues.

How some teams handled ticket refunds, etc. for the cancelled 2019-2020 season surely will have an impact on an unknown future season. 

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Pensacola Ice Flyers owner Greg Harris laments tough decision by SPHL to delay start of season. Last I heard, Harris was the president of the league's Board of Governors. If otherwise, my apologies.

https://pensacolaiceflyers.com/ice-flyers-owner-greg-harris-laments-tough-decision-by-sphl-to-delay-start-of-season/

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Sloppy wording of the I'Flyers article title.  Mr. Harris said: "... we had to make the responsible decision. ... We just tried to make the best decision we can as team owners."  That's not lamenting a tough decision; that's lamenting the circumstances that forced the decision.  Big difference in emotions.

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6 minutes ago, Mayhem_Fan said:

Is it possible to lament BOTH the circumstances and the decision?

The answer is: "Yes, but ..."  The quotes in Mr. Vilona's piece do not indicate that Mr. Harris lamented the latter.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, JMC-STL said:

The answer is: "Yes, but ..."  The quotes in Mr. Vilona's piece do not indicate that Mr. Harris lamented the latter.

I reread the article and I do not see what you are seeing, so we will have to agree to disagree on this one. Maybe I am missing something. Either way we will not see our teams on the ice until December or later, so it really does not matter what he is lamenting.

Edited by Mayhem_Fan

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So Mike Murray (Icebears President) just dropped a bomb a few hours ago throwing around the potenial plan of Knoxville as a hub city. 

https://www.991thesportsanimal.com/sportstalk-podcasts/?futurishared=8889&station=WNML#.XyHmLB9j0oI.twitter

-14:10 is when it comes up

To add here what I said on Twitter.

Never bring this up again, and bury it in whatever hole it came from

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1 minute ago, Mark L. Richland said:

So Mike Murray (Icebears President) just dropped a bomb a few hours ago throwing around the potenial plan of Knoxville as a hub city. 

https://www.991thesportsanimal.com/sportstalk-podcasts/?futurishared=8889&station=WNML#.XyHmLB9j0oI.twitter

-14:10 is when it comes up

To add here what I said on Twitter.

Never bring this up again, and bury it in whatever hole it came from

I don't see how that would be a viable option at this level. I'm not saying it couldn't work but it'd be an uphill battle financially for many teams...

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Posted (edited)

Mr. Murray mentioned using Knoxville as a hub city only for the playoffs as a way to shorten the amount of time it will take to finish them. He also suggested they may happen in May instead of April. I hope the season lasts that long. The hub concept still will not work, but it is not for the entire season.

Edited by Mayhem_Fan
Typos

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Proposals like the one mentioned by Mr. Murray are simply a reflection of the sort of "sausage making" that went on during the recent SPHL BOG video call.  Some participants would've had season planning suggestions that they considered "prime cuts" rejected by the grinding committee, but the ideas remain tender & juicy for the secondary slaughterhouses of sports talk media.  Just another way to keep hockey fans' mouths watering while the casings are being made for the final production run.🌭

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They'll do anything to keep the news cycle going. It is a way of dangling a future "season start date" in front of fans so they can try to sell tickets, sponsorships, and merchandise. I sincerely hope they can make good on all their promises, but I wouldn't put any money on it.

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I do not envy anyone who is involved in selling tickets and lining up sponsors, because they have a very difficult job. Not only do they have to deal with the uncertainty surrounding the season, they also have to deal with businesses and individuals who may have to cut expenses for whatever reason. The first place they will look at is entertainment in general. I also find it difficult to believe a lot of folks will invest money until they see their team on the ice and some level of uncertainty is removed. Even then, the attendance issues which will exist with or without restrictions will deter some potential sponsors.

As of now, it looks like the smartest owners from last year are the Kerzners, because they got out just in time. I wish I could be more positive but I cannot, because I think the league as a whole is in a major mess.

There is one positive thing I can say and it is the NHL restarts this weekend.🤷‍♀️  

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12 minutes ago, Mayhem_Fan said:

... There is one positive thing I can say and it is the NHL restarts this weekend.🤷‍♀️  

That's a "positive thing" as long as there aren't a bunch of "positive tests" for Coronavirus.  :surrender:

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