Some hopes for the Montreal Canadiens could find themselves in a difficult situation this winter, since the Premier AA Hockey League (ECHL) has announced that not all teams in the North section will play the 2020-2021 season due to the COVID pandemic. -19.
The teams affected would be the Mariners of Maine – whose vice-president of hockey operations is former striker Daniel Brière -, the Brampton Beast, the Royals of Reading, the Railers of Worcester, the Thunder of the Adirondacks and the Growlers of Newfoundland. All hockey players on these teams automatically become free agents in this league.
Several prospects with a valid agreement with the Habs have seen some action in the ECHL in recent seasons and almost all with one of the teams on forced leave.
Goalkeeper Michael McNivean has played five games for the Beast and four for the Thunder in the two most recent campaigns. He also played for the Jacksonville Icemen and the Norfolk Admirals.
Micheal Piazetta played for the Mariners in 2018-19 and Hayden Verbeek spent the majority of last season with the Thunder.
If they fail to carve out a place with the Laval Rocket this season, it could be difficult for Marc Bergevin to find them a place in the lower circuit due to the large pool of players available. The Canadian officially no longer has any affiliation with a team in this league.
Costly second wave
Circuit commissioner Ryan Crelin attributed this to the upsurge in cases in the cities that host the teams mentioned.
“As we continue to navigate evolving guidelines across North America, we recognize the difficult nature of this decision,” the commissioner said in a statement. While the towns of some of our teams have accepted plans including supporters in the stands, we unfortunately do not see the same for these badly affected regions in the North East. ”
However, the league seemed determined to hold a season for all its formations. At the end of October, it released part of its schedule due to start on December 11 for 13 formations, all located in the United States. The rest were to start on January 15 and play a total of 62 games.