The coronavirus pandemic made an impact on local sports again Thursday when organizer Ben Hankinson announced that Da Beauty League, the fun-filled summer gathering of NHL, minor league and college players, has been postponed indefinitely.
"It's too bad because we fought. Our whole plan was to fit Da Beauty League in,'' said Hankinson, an agent for Octagon hockey and a former Gophers player. "… There were so many hurdles and such a battle. Finally, we just thought for safety and testing, it's got to be run like a professional league. It just got a little bit too much with what could go wrong.''
Da Beauty League, established in 2015, is played at Edina's Braemar Arena and draws some of the top local NHL talent, such as Zach Parise, Jason Zucker, Ryan McDonagh and Brock Boeser. The format is four-on-four hockey with no body checking and two 23-minute running-time periods. Last year, the league ran from July 10 through Aug. 21, with doubleheaders once or twice per week. Proceeds of the league go to charity.
With the NHL still aiming to play later this summer, Hankinson said there was a chance to still get Da Beauty League in. Up to this week, Hankinson and other organizers were considering a three-on-three format before deciding to postpone.
"The fans wanted to see the best players, the NHL guys, and if they were going to be gone, we still have a lot of AHL players around, a lot of Europeans and a lot of good college players,'' he said. "There was definitely a chance to keep moving in that regard. With everything that happened, it became insurmountable.''
Hankinson hasn't given up hope that Da Beauty League could return later this year, though the logistics will be challenging.
"There's definitely still some life, in our minds, and I think we could pull it off,'' he said. "... Depending on what happens with the NHL and colleges, we'll see.''
Terry Moore, one of Da Beauty League's co-founders, wrote a limerick for the league's website to announce the postponement.
"Today we find it upon us
To announce with unbearable sadness
After months of intrigue
That Da Beauty League
Is being postponed by the virus
We want you all healthy and well
So now we must wait for a spell
It's just for a while
We'll look for your smile
When Corona arrives into hell''