JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The season hasn’t been canceled for the Icemen but the start has been moved back. The ECHL announced Wednesday that the season, originally scheduled to start in October, is not anticipated to begin until at least December 4.
The league says they’ll play a full 72-game season, but there are questions about what the change of schedule will mean for Jacksonville’s hosting of the All-Star game.
“One of the goals that we have is not to start until it’s safe to start,” said Icemen president Bob Ohrablo. “We’re not like the NHL and the NBA where we could do TV only. We need fans, we need our fan base. So we, as as a league, we felt that the mid-October start date was a little too early. And we wanted some more time.”
The Icemen were scheduled to host the ECHL All-Star game on Jan. 18, but with the start of the season being pushed back, the all-star festivities will be, as well.
“It’s hard to tell players they have six weeks to make an all-star team,” Ohrablo said. “It will definitely be pushed back.”
There’s a chance the league could cancel the all-star events for this season and look to the 2021-2022 season, in which case, Ohrablo said, Jacksonville would still host the game.
“Jacksonville will have an all star game, I can tell you that,” Ohrablo said. “I can’t guarantee it’s gonna be 2021 but if it’s not (the) 20-21 (season), then 21-22. The league is very excited about bringing the all-star showcase here. We’re excited about hosting it. It’s going to showcase Jacksonville to the entire hockey world. And we want to make sure that it’s done well. And it’s done right.”