The NHL isn’t the only league looking at how to return to action. Although the 2019-20 AHL season is officially over, plans are already in the works for how the 2020-21 season will go. There is concern that, due to a delayed NHL finish and the COVID-19 outbreak, that the 2020-21 AHL season won’t start until December or January.
A task force has been assembled with members of NHL and AHL front offices to map out how the 2020-21 season will unfold. Among those on the task force is Edmonton Oilers General Manager and President of Hockey Operations Ken Holland. Holland will be joined by Kyle Dubas (Toronto Maple Leafs), Don Sweeney (Boston Bruins), David Poile (Nashville Predators) and Steve Yzerman (Detroit Red Wings) from the NHL ranks.
Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose owner Mark Chipman will also be on the task force. The AHL clubs will be directly represented by Jeff Barrett (W/BS Penguins), Tera Black (Charlotte Checkers), Jim Brooks (Lehigh Valley Phantoms), Todd Frederickson (Iowa Wild), Mike Ostrowski (Cleveland Monsters) and Matt Savant (San Diego Gulls). Outgoing AHL Commissioner David Andrews will also be on the task force.
Here is what the league had to say about the task force in their official release from earlier on Monday.
The Return to Play task force will not have any operational or management responsibility for executing the AHL’s return to play, but rather will provide strategic leadership to the league in developing or identifying opportunities for a return-to-play process that can gain widespread support in both the AHL and the National Hockey League.
The Oilers have dealt with concerns about the upcoming AHL season already this summer. The club has seen one of its top prospects, Dmitri Samorukov, elect to sign in the KHL for next season amid the uncertainty.