PRINCETON, N.J. – Saturday, March 14, 2020
On Saturday, the ECHL Board of Governors approved the cancellation of the remainder of the 2019-20 Season.
A statement from ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin:
"The decision by the ECHL to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 Season does not come lightly, as this is an emotional time for our players, coaches, member teams, fans and staff. At this point in the season, there has been immense dedication and countless hours committed in moving towards what is traditionally the most exciting part of the hockey year. With that said, however, as each passing day raises additional concerns for the safety of those in the ECHL community and as we take precautionary measures in conjunction with our local authorities across the continent to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it has become apparent that this is the prudent decision. Our game and our product are based on our fans and their ability to cheer on their favorite ECHL team and players at one of our many facilities around the continent. Without that social environment and game atmosphere, the ECHL simply isn't the same.
On behalf of the ECHL and our Board of Governors, we appreciate the Professional Hockey Players' Association for their assistance during this unprecedented time and working as partners in hockey to reach this decision for the best interest of the ECHL and its players. This decision allows our players the opportunity to return to their homes and removes the uncertainty that currently exists.
While we are hopeful that this period ceases and an opportunity to return to normalcy for the hockey calendar presents itself, in the interim, we ask all fans, players, coaches, officials, and staff to continue to abide by the measures put in place by their local authorities and follow precautionary protocols for their safety, as we will begin preparations for the 2020-21 ECHL Hockey Season."
The Thunder will provide more information on the next steps in the coming days via its website and social media platforms.
As the ongoing developments regarding COVID-19 in North America continue, the ECHL has suspended the 2019-20 Season.
The hockey league says the decision comes as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and keep fans, players and employees safe.
"it's unfortunate, but it's the best thing," said Joel Lomurno, The Wichita Thunder General Manager.
He says right now players are on a bus heading back to wichita and were supposed to play three games this weekend.
"It's a trickle-down effect for everyone," said Lomurno.
The team is still in the process of figuring out what will happen for those who already have tickets.
"The ECHL and its Member Teams continue to work with national and local health officials and local governments (sp) to monitor the situation. In the interim, we encourage those in the ECHL community to take precautions and stay safe during this time," sais the ECHL in a release.
The Wichita Thunder is a member of the league.