PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) Commissioner Doug Price confirmed a mid-to-late December starting date for the Peoria Rivermen hockey team due to continued concerns of public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Price said with the ongoing spikes in COVID-19 cases across the country, there were too many variables out of the league’s control, leading to a delayed season start.
Price said the delay gives the league the opportunity to play a full season without putting any of the 10 teams at further risk of catching and spreading the virus.
He also said revenue funding was an issue due to the “uncertainty” of whether fans will be able to attend games in person. Without the audience in attendance, Price said starting the season as originally scheduled would leave too much to chance.
An official statement reads:
“With the continued spikes in COVID-19 throughout the country and the challenges other sports are facing in their attempts to resume play, delaying our start to December gives us the best chance of completing an entire season with all 10 teams. In addition, various state restrictions on large gatherings and the economics surrounding the uncertainty of having fans in our arenas in October or November, even at reduced capacity, make it difficult for teams to guarantee the ability to generate the revenue needed to operate if we were to start any earlier.”
“After a healthy discussion among our Board of Governors, we just felt there are too many variables out of our control at this time to attempt starting on time. Delaying the season was a difficult decision, but I believe it was the responsible thing to do when taking everything into consideration.”Doug Price, SPHL Commissioner
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