Toledo Walleye, Detroit Red Wings affiliate, to sit out 2020-21 season
Detroit – There will be no pro hockey in Toledo this season.
The Toledo Walleye affiliated with Red Wings have decided to end the 2020-21 regular sub-season.
Walleye players were informed of the decision on Tuesday morning.
Toledo joins 11 other ECHL teams – of 26 – to finish the 2020-21 season under the league’s Pandemic Voluntary Suspension program.
The pikeperch intend to return for their 12th season at the Huntington Center for the 2021-22 season.
Toledo originally received approval from the ECHL Board of Governors and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association to start the season in February.
But the inability to have fans in the arena made it nearly impossible for Walleye to return.
In a statement, Joe Napoli, President and CEO of Walleye said, “We are grateful to the ECHL member teams for giving us the opportunity to postpone the start of the season until February. We were hoping the extra time would be enough for vaccine distribution to move in and ease the COVID-19 entry restriction for indoor arenas to the point that we can safely play a significant part of the 2020-21 season in front of our fans.
“Unlike Major League Sports, which benefit from national and international contracts for TV and streaming media rights, the Walleye’s financial stability depends on the participation and generosity of local sponsors.
“After much discussion, we decided to focus on a safe, healthy and successful 2021-22 season. We are broken for our fans, our players, our employees and the downtown Toledo neighborhood that depends on the success of the Walleye . ”
Under the current affiliation, the Red Wings are providing the Walleye with several NHL contract players and signing players for AHL / ECHL contracts that can play for either Grand Rapids or Toledo.