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NAHL: Start of regular season set for Oct. 9
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NAHL: Start of regular season set for Oct. 9

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Austin Bruins at Chippewa Steel 1-25-20

Chippewa's Braiden Dorfman makes a pass during a game against the Austin Bruins last season at Chippewa Area Ice Arena.

The North American Hockey League announced on Monday the start of the 2020-21 regular season will begin on Oct. 9.

The league is committed to playing a full season and the schedule for the season is expected to be released on Sept. 1.

“We have spent a lot of time discussing return dates and are excited to be moving forward at this time,” NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld said in a press release. “Our number one priority remains returning to the ice this fall in the safest manner possible for everyone in our hockey community and we believe that Oct. 9 is a good date to achieve that goal.

“Between now and the schedule release we will be communicating with the NHL, USA Hockey and the USHL, to develop the most current return to play guidelines as possible.”

The NAHL will continue to work daily with teams to monitor the situation in 27 communities, utilizing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local authorities. The NAHL and its member clubs want to ensure the they are utilizing the latest information available to provide the safest environment as possible for all the players, coaches, staff, billet families and fans.

The delayed start to the league’s 46th season will impact a number of NAHL events. The 18th annual NAHL Showcase will take place from Dec. 16-18 at the Super Rink in Blaine, Minn. The 2021 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament will take place on Feb. 8-9, 2021 at the New England Sports Village in Attleboro, Mass. and the 2021 NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship will take place from May 21-25, 2021 at Fogerty Arena in Blaine, Minn.

“Our events play a big role in the development, exposure and advancement of our players. Our goal for the upcoming 2020-21 season was to make sure that all three events could take place in the safest manner possible,” Frankenfeld said. “While we are disappointed we cannot have our NAHL Showcase during its normal time in September, we feel moving back to December gives everyone the best opportunity to attend and enjoy our event.”

The upcoming season will mark the Chippewa Steel’s third in the NAHL. The Steel posted a 29-18-3-1 overall record in a shortened 2019-20 season in Chippewa Falls, good for second place in the Midwest Division standings.

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