Due to the impact of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Champions Hockey League announced on Tuesday that the 2020/21 season cannot proceed as planned.
Back in April, the pan-European competition cancelled the group stage and pushed the start of the 32-team circuit back from late August to early October. The start date was later pushed back to November, but ultimately there were too many hurdles to overcome to make playing in any capacity a practical endeavour.
“All things considered, the CHL Board had to come to the very difficult conclusion that playing a 2020/21 season is not manageable for the Champions Hockey League or the participating clubs from both an operational and economic perspective,” CHL President Peter Zahner said after an extraordinary video conference on Tuesday.
“The health and safety of all participating teams is of the highest priority, and with the current development of the epidemiological situation we unfortunately would not be able to guarantee that everyone always returns home in good health and without needing to undergo quarantine restrictions, no matter how sophisticated our protection concepts are.”
For these reasons, the 2020/21 season will be cancelled – a step which is announced with great regret as the CHL was working hard during the last couple of months to make a European club competition happen despite difficult times.
Zahner continued: “I would like to thank all of our participating clubs, shareholders, partners and everyone else involved for the support we received with preparations for this very unique 2020/21 season. The pandemic is beyond our control, this is a fact we unfortunately must accept.”
The Champions Hockey League was introduced in 2014/15 as the pan-European club competition in ice hockey. The organization has signed a long-term partnership with its media and marketing partner Infront until 2027/28.
“We will now take our time to analyze the situation and find ways for our organization how to overcome the difficult time. We are confident that the COVID-19 situation will normalize within the next couple of months and that the CHL will come back in 2021/22 better than ever,” Zahner added.
With files from Championshockeyleague.com.