It’s official. The American Hockey League has canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 regular season as well as its Calder Cup playoffs due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made after a vote by of the board of governors and its focus has shifted toward preparing for the 2020-21 campaign. The league’s standings and statistics are considered final as of March 12, 2020 and will serve as the basis for determining league awards.
Statement from Springfield Thunderbirds President, Nathan Costa
These truly are unprecedented circumstances, and though it is not the outcome that we all hoped for, we fully support the decision made today by the American Hockey League to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 season. On behalf of the entire Thunderbirds organization, we would like to thank our great fans for their unwavering support this year as well as the Florida Panthers for their commitment to our city during the first four years of our franchise. Please continue to adhere to all local and federal guidelines in an effort to stay safe, and I can’t wait to see all of you in a few short months to kick off our 5th Anniversary season at the MassMutual Center in 2020-21.
Though the final standings will show the T-Birds on the cusp of a playoff berth for the first time in their history, we continued to make an impact in the Springfield community during our fourth season. We had nine sell-outs through the shortened 20-21 season, the same number as all of last season, as well as eclipsing the 5,000 per game attendance mark for the second consecutive season with an average of 5,262 per game. Next season will be a special one for the organization, as we begin a five-year affiliation agreement with the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues to coincide with the club’s fifth year of existence.
The Thunderbirds finished the season with a disappointing (as per usual) record of 31-27-3, good for fifth place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division. Springfield was eight points behind fourth place Hartford Wolf Pack, with a game in hand, for the division’s final playoff spot when the season was postponed.
Owen Tippet led the team in scoring with 40 points on 19 goals and 21 assists. Philippe Desrosiers was the workhorse in net, appearing in 29 games and posting a 16-10-2 record with a 3.05 GAA and .916 save percentage.
This was the fourth and final year of the relationship between the Thunderbirds and the Florida Panthers. The St. Louis Blues will become the parent club of the T-Birds going forward. We wish the team and fans in Springfield the best as they embark on new chapter in the history of the franchise.