The Toronto Marlies’ season appears to be over, with The Associated Press reporting that the AHL will cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign.
The Toronto Marlies have likely played their final game of the 2019-20 campaign. While the NHL is making plans to restart as soon as it is safe to, the AHL will apparently cancel the remainder of their current season.
The news came from a report by The Associated Press. As per TSN, a person with direct knowledge of discussions said it’s quite likely the AHL will cancel the rest of its season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per The Associated Press via TSN, the AHL responded by saying nothing was imminent in terms of calling off the remainder of the season. Last week however, President and CEO David Andrews admitted the league was pivoting to the 2020-21 season.
The AHL initially suspended play on March 12. A few days later the league advised the indefinite suspension would not be lifted before May, setting the stage for the latest developments.
Assuming the report proves accurate, the cancellation of the season will be a shame. At the same time however, you can appreciate why the AHL would make such a decision.
Despite some of the remarks online essentially taking jabs at the league’s expense, it still remains an integral part of the hockey setup. It is an important step in helping develop players, especially those with a genuine shot at playing in the NHL.
In addition, attendance figures are decent, with an average of 5,537 per AHL contest during the 2019-20 season. The Cleveland Monsters lead the way with 9,043 fans per home game, while the Stockton Heat are at the bottom with an average attendance of 2,781.
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In this respect, the Marlies were just above the average in 13th place, with 5,674 supporters in attendance per game at the Coca-Cola Coliseum. Unfortunately for fans, the team was not particularly productive on the ice prior to the 2019-20 campaign being suspended.
As of March 12, the Marlies were in seventh place in the North Division standings, sitting on 63 points and with a record of 29-27-3 through 61 contests. This left them nine points out of the fourth and final playoff spot in the division, with 15 games remaining.
This will have been perceived a disappointment by many, especially when considering the Marlies’ achievement of qualifying for the playoffs in each of the previous eight seasons. The accomplishments during this time included five North Division titles and twice advancing to the Calder Cup, winning it all for the first time in 2018.
After all his success with the Marlies, Sheldon Keefe being promoted to coach the Leafs in November arguably didn’t help. Since Greg Moore was named as new head coach on Dec. 1, the team complied a record of 14-25-2 prior to the AHL season being suspended.
While Moore would probably prefer the circumstances were different, at least he will now have more time to develop a plan for getting the best out of the Marlies. Pending how the COVID-19 pandemic plays out, the 2020-21 AHL season is scheduled to commence in October.
Pending official confirmation, do you agree or disagree with the AHL’s reported decision to cancel the rest of the 2019-20 campaign? Looking ahead, how confident are you in having Moore as head coach for the Toronto Marlies next season? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.