HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (WATE) – The Knoxville Ice Bears will have to wait a little longer to return to the ice this year.
The Southern Professional Hockey League on Tuesday announced that it is targeting mid-to-late December for the start of the 2020-21 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,” SPHL Commissioner Doug Price said. “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.”
The Ice Bears 2019-20 season ended abruptly on March 12 with the onset of the pandemic across the country. The team was 26-17-4, good enough for sixth in the league, and in the middle of the playoff hunt.
Price went on to say it was a difficult decision to delay the season but the responsible thing to do. The delay was made after discussion from the league’s board of governors.
The regular-season schedule and playoff format will be announced at a later date.
- The Bears Den: episode two
- Ice Bears, Havoc to play 4-on-4 this weekend amid ‘unique season’
- Hockey time in Tennessee: Ice Bears fall in home opener after game delay
- Who’s ready for some Ice Bears? What to know about tonight’s game before the puck drops
- UPDATE: Ice Bears move back puck drop for home opener Friday