A 54-game season starting in early November is the goal for the United States Hockey League, which announced Tuesday its plans to play amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The USHL, the only Tier I junior league in the United States, plans to open play Nov. 6 and trim eight games from its usual schedule length. Players will start arriving to their teams Sept. 14 in preparations for exhibition games that will start in mid-October. The league is finalizing its return to play protocols, and activities are designed to adhere to local, state and federal guidelines.
The regular season for the top feeder league to college hockey is slated to end April 24, and the schedule is designed to allow flexibility to move games to the latter part of the season. The league expects to release its schedule in the coming weeks.
““We have created a plan to bring players to our markets and in order to safely begin development and ultimately competition,” USHL President and Commissioner Tom Garrity said in a statement. “Should conditions change, this plan will allow our league the flexibility to react to new circumstances, and we will adjust accordingly.”
The Tier II North American Hockey League on Jan. 27 announced plans to begin its 2020-21 season on Oct. 9 and play the full 60 games.