The best Toronto Maple Leafs prospects are finished playing hockey this year as the American Hockey League cancelled the remainder of their season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs season still has hopes to return but it’s AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies are unfortunately out of work for the remainder of this season.
With a 29-27-5 record, the Marlies had a roller-coaster season.
On a positive note, the team continued to develop former Marlies into future Toronto Maple Leafs like Pierre Engvall and Justin Holl.
Engvall and Holl became regulars with the big club and played well enough to earn contract extensions, as Engvall signed a two-year and Holl a three-year deal with the Leafs.
There have been a number of negatives with the Marlies, though.
For the first time since 2011, the team was likely going to miss the playoffs. In their 15-year history, the team has only missed the playoffs three times.
The Marlies have two Calder Cup appearances, one championship, and six conference championship appearances in their short history, so the fan-base is not used to mediocrity.
AHL Cancels 2019-20 season
As you can see in the statement above by President and CEO Dave Andrews, the league could not function anymore based on the conditions of COVID-19.
The AHL was always going to be in a worse situation to return than the NHL based on many different factors.
First, the AHL survives off gate-revenue. Without fans coming to games and buying tickets, the league would have a hard time staying afloat. Although the NHL makes much more money from gate revenue than the AHL, it’s not as crucial for the state of the NHL.
The NHL has the luxury of huge television contracts, like the 12-year $5.232 billion contract Rogers paid them in 2013. The AHL unfortunately doesn’t have these types of luxuries.
Everything comes down to money, so without it coming in, the AHL did the necessary move to shut it’s doors and focus on the 2020-21 season.
This is also Dave Andrews’ last season as President and CEO of the AHL, so it’s unfortunate that he won’t be able to present one more Calder Cup before he retires.
Andrews has been a tremendous leader and has turned the AHL into one of the best developmental leagues in the world, so although his experience and leadership will be missed, he’s definitely leaving the league in a better spot than where he arrived.
Although it’s another sad day for Marlies fans who love watching games at Coca-Cola Coliseum, it’s the right thing to do so it doesn’t jeopardize the league moving forward. Kudos to Andrews for everything he’s done and let’s hope this move helps get the league started on time next season.