Worcester Railers announce revised start date for 2020-21 season
Railers set to play during second phase of ECHL season starting on January 15, 2021
Worcester, MA – The Worcester Railers Hockey Club (@RailersHC), ECHL (@ECHL) affiliate of the New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) in conjunction with the ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association, announced today that the 2020-21 ECHL regular season will commence under a split-season format with two start dates: Dec 11, 2020 and Jan 15, 2021.
Under the split-season guidelines, the following teams will begin a 72-game season on December 11 – Allen, Florida, Greenville, Indy, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Orlando, Rapid City, South Carolina, Tulsa, Utah, Wheeling, and Wichita.
Additionally, remaining ECHL teams, including Worcester Railers HC, are set to begin their season on January 15, 2021, competing in a 62-game season upon jurisdictional approval.
“The decision to focus on a January start date provides us with the best opportunity to play with fans present in a safe and fun environment, said Railers HC president Stephanie Ramey. “Our team has been working hand-in-hand with the DCU Center to develop a comprehensive re-opening strategy that will offer attendees a safe and controlled setting, focusing on physical distancing, safety protocols, cleaning and hygiene, mobile ordering, attendee traffic flow and communication. We believe wholeheartedly that we can launch an ECHL hockey season in Worcester and are prepared to cooperate with city and state officials, as well as health experts to ensure the safety of our fans, players and staff.”
The Worcester Railers will continue to provide updates on return to play protocols, ticketing procedures, and season schedule on www.RailersHC.com.
“We are excited to get back on the ice for our fourth season of ECHL action at the DCU Center,” said Railers HC COO Mike Myers. “Railers general manager and head coach David Cunniff has done an excellent job over the last several months compiling a roster that will make a push towards a Kelly Cup. We can not wait to get our season started and spend time with our hockey family come January.”
The Atlanta Gladiators have elected a Voluntary Suspension for the 2020-21 Season due to COVID-19 restrictions, returning to play in the 2021-22 Season. All Atlanta Gladiators Players are immediately Free Agents for the 2020-21 Season.
“The ECHL is excited to be able to confirm the beginning of the 2020-21 Season by working with our local health officials and the PHPA to develop protocols for the safe return of our players, fans, and employees,” said ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin.“The ECHL is getting back to hockey, as we all work together to bring live entertainment back to our communities.”
“Our ECHL Members have been looking forward to getting back on the ice since March 16, and providing the fans with exciting hockey in a safe environment,” said PHPA Executive Director Larry Landon.“I would like to thank Ryan Crelin, the ECHL Board of Governors and the commitment from our Return to Play Committee including Jake Flegel, Josh Holmstrom, Steven Kaunisto, Justin Taylor and Riley Weselowski.”
The ECHL regular season will conclude on June 6, 2021. A schedule for games from December 11, 2020 – January 14, 2021 will be announced in the near future.
Under this split-season scenario, League standings will be based on winning percentage during the regular season. The post-season format will be based on the eligible competing teams in the regular season and will be announced at a later date.
To date, the Worcester Railers HC have 17 players under contract for the 2020-21 season. Click HERE for the most up to date roster.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 26 teams in 19 states and two Canadian provinces for its 33rd season in 2020-21. There have been 678 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 16 who made their NHL debuts in the 2019-20 season. The ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 31 NHL teams in 2019-20, marking the 23rd consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
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