The Charlotte Checkers announced the organization will not participate in the 2020-21 American Hockey League season that will begin on Feb. 5.
A tough decision for the defending AHL Champions, who haven’t played since May 10 due to the remainder of the 2019-20 season canceled due to COVID-19. After consulting their NHL affiliate, the Florida Panthers, along with weighing safety and logistical concerns, the team’s front office felt the focus needs to be on the 2021-22 season.
“While we are disappointed that we cannot resume playing at this time, both the Panthers and Checkers feel it is in the best interests of all parties to opt out for this season,” said Checkers Owner and CEO Michael Kahn. “There are several travel, safety and player supply challenges to consider. Those, coupled with the increasing number of new cases in our area, make it very unlikely that we will be able to host fans at our games in the near future. We are appreciative of our partnership with the Florida Panthers regarding the navigation of this very difficult matter and will immediately focus our efforts on beginning the 2021-22 season in the fall.”
“Working closely with the Charlotte Checkers organization, we have come to the decision together to opt out of playing in Charlotte in 2020-21,” said Florida Panthers General Manager Bill Zito. “Despite the travel and business challenges involved with this year, we feel that this decision will not impact our player development system as we continue to provide necessary environments for growth. We look forward to the continuation of our partnership with the Checkers organization and the puck drop of 2021-22 in Charlotte.”
The Checkers will directly reach out to season ticket holders via phone within the next 48 hours to discuss options moving forward.