Much to the dismay of hockey fans around the country, the AHL has announced that there will not be a Calder Cup recipient for the 2020-2021 season.
President and CEO, Scott Howson, announced that the AHL will not be awarding the Calder Cup this season due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols. This is the second year in a row that the AHL’s playoffs have been effected by the global pandemic.
Despite not crowning a champion this season, the league has delegated to each division how to go about postseason play. This means that no out-of-division play will be had, but instead, division champions will be decided.
That being said, out of the five divisions that make up the AHL in 2021, just one will actually continue play once the regular season has concluded. The Pacific division will allow its teams to conduct a tournament-style postseason to determine the group’s champion.
The other four divisions, Atlantic, North, Central, and Canadian, will all base their division champions on point percentage. This means that regardless of how many games teams played, their percentages will outweigh the COVID-19 issues that they faced.
For the Chicago Wolves, the Central division leaders to this point, have an opportunity to hoist the Sam Pollock Trophy. This has been given to the division’s winner since the 1995-96 season. The Wolves, who hold a record of 16-5-1-2, sit atop the group ahead of the Cleveland Monsters (13-7-1-0) and Grand Rapids Griffins (12-7-3-0) with just a few weeks to go in the regular season. At the bottom of the division are the Rockford IceHogs (9-15-1-0).
Not only did the league make these announcements, but they also set a date for the 2021-2022 season’s start. Next season’s puck drop will take place on October 15, 2021. Division alignments and deeper details will be ironed out as more time passes.