Ice Bears season opener pushed to December

The Southern Professional Hockey League announced Tuesday it's targeting mid-to-late December for the start of the 2020-2021 regular season
Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 3:51 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Southern Professional Hockey League announced Tuesday it’s targeting mid-to-late December for the start of the 2020-2021 regular season.

In contrast, opening night for the Knoxville Ice Bears fell on October 18th last year - a two month difference for this upcoming 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,” stated SPHL Commissioner Doug Price. “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.”

“After a healthy discussion among our Board of Governors, we just felt there are too many variables out of our control at this time to attempt starting on time,” added Price. “Delaying the season was a difficult decision, but I believe it was the responsible thing to do when taking everything into consideration.”

The 2020-2021 regular season schedule and playoff format will be announced at a later date.

Entering its 17th season, the Southern Professional Hockey League is comprised of 10 member teams located throughout the southeastern and mid-western United States. Headquartered in Huntersville, North Carolina, the mission of the SPHL is to provide a quality family-friendly entertainment product structured inside an economic model that is viable for small and mid-size markets and arenas. For more information about the SPHL, visit the league’s website.

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