American Hockey League decides to cancel season
History was made Monday, but not the kind anybody wanted to see.
The American Hockey League -- the league in which the Chicago Wolves and Rockford IceHogs both play -- canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season and the Calder Cup playoffs. It is the first time in the AHL's 84-year history that a season ended without a champion being named.
"After a lengthy review process, the American Hockey League has determined the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 season is not feasible in light of current conditions," said AHL president and CEO David Andrews. "The league's operational focus has turned toward actively preparing for the 2020-21 season."
Said Wolves coach Rocky Thompson: "It was inevitable. It was kind of good to just have come closure on it."
The Wolves (27-26-8) were in fourth place in the Central Division, which would have qualified them for a playoff spot. Curtis McKenzie, Gage Quinney and Tye McGinn tied for the team lead in goals with 17 each, while Lucas Elvens became the second rookie to lead the team in scoring (12G, 36A). Brandon Pirri, who began the season in the NHL with Vegas, finished with 15 goals in just 38 games.
A year after watching his Wolves advance to the Calder Cup Final, Thompson found himself guiding an extremely young and inexperienced squad. It was one that was 11-15-2 on December 13, but then started playing more consistent, winning hockey -- thanks in large part to a coaching staff that got the most out of every player.
"I think it's the best coaching my staff and I did since I've been a head coach," Thompson said. "And the other seasons were challenging too in different ways. ...
"We were really able to improve our group and I give our guys a ton of credit for that. They battled, they competed and they grew as a team and they also grew as individuals. To me, that's successful.
"It was challenging, but it was very rewarding in the end."
The IceHogs, who are the minor league affiliate of the Blackhawks, finished in fifth place in the Central at 29-30-4. They were led by Brandon Hagel's 19 goals. Tyler and Dylan Sikura were next with 14 each.
Goaltender Colin Delia was 16-13-1 with a .912 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average.