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Photo Credit: Sam Iannamico/Griffins

AHL cancels rest of 2019-20 season, Calder Cup playoffs

The American Hockey League on Monday announced the league’s board of governors voted to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 AHL regular season and the 2020 Calder Cup playoffs due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

AHL president and CEO David Andrews released the following statement:

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“After a lengthy review process, the American Hockey League has determined that the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 season is not feasible in light of current conditions.

“The league’s operational focus has turned toward actively preparing for the 2020-21 season.

“We are very grateful to the National Hockey League and its teams for their support and leadership in navigating through the challenges faced over the past two months.

“The AHL continues to place paramount importance on the health and safety of our players, officials, staff and fans and all of their families, and we all look forward to returning to our arenas in 2020-21.”

Grand Rapids Griffins season ticket members and FLEX ticket buyers will receive an email from the team this week regarding refund, redemption and credit rollover options for the 2020-21 season. Single-game ticket purchasers for any of the final seven home games of the 2019-20 regular season who have not already received refunds or credits can visit the Griffins’ canceled game FAQ page for information on their options.

The AHL’s standings — sorted by points percentage — and statistics as of March 12 are considered final and official. As of that date, the Griffins were in position to extend their franchise record with an eighth consecutive berth in the Calder Cup playoffs. They finish the 2019-20 campaign in third place in the Central Division with a 29-27-3-4 record (0.516).

Chris Terry led the Griffins in goals (21), assists (31) and points (51) in 57 games. First-round pick Moritz Seider finished his rookie season with 22 points (2-20) in 49 games, and Joe Veleno had 23 points (11-12) in 54 games.

It’s unfortunate Seider and Veleno didn’t get that valuable playoff push experience, as well as the chance to experience the Calder Cup playoffs. With a good training camp, Seider could made the case for spot on the Detroit Red Wings’ roster on opening night in 2020-21, whenever that season begins.

Veleno may need some more seasoning in the AHL. A lot, of course, depends on free agency and what rules the NHL will institute for the draft lottery, but Veleno certainly is knocking on the door.

Evgeny Svechnikov really needed the rest of the season to make his case for being part of the Red Wings’ future. He posted 25 points (11-14) in 51 games this season, not exactly a stellar campaign. He’s had a rough time coming back from a knee injury that kept him out for the entire 2018-19 season. As a restricted free agent this offseason, it’ll be interesting to see how general manager Steve Yzerman handles the 23-year-old.

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