On Thursday, the ECHL announced that it was suspending their season due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). The move was made in accordance with the NHL and AHL suspending their seasons. On Saturday, ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin issued a statement canceling the rest of the ECHL season.
In his statement, Crelin said the following:
With that said, however, as each passing day raises additional concerns for the safety of those in the ECHL community and as we take precautionary measures in conjunction with our local authorities across the continent to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it has become apparent that this is the prudent decision. Our game and our product are based on our fans and their ability to cheer on their favorite ECHL team and players at one of our many facilities around the continent. Without that social environment and game atmosphere, the ECHL simply isn’t the same.
The effect on the Fuel
The Fuel last played on Wednesday against Kalamazoo, winning 1–0. Spencer Watson scored the game winner on a power-play goal. Watson finished the year with the third-most goals in the ECHL at 31.
When the season was suspended on Friday, the Fuel were in fourth place in the Central Division and on pace for a playoff birth. The Fuel’s first-round opponent would have been the division winner Cincinnati Cyclones. It would have been the second playoff appearance for the Indy Fuel franchise. The franchise’s lone playoff appearance was in 2017–18, in which they lost in the first round.
The effect on the players
While the AHL has announced that players will be paid for the remainder of their season, there was no official word from Crelin on wages for his players. Reports have surfaced that ECHL players will only be paid until Monday.
Have heard from a handful of ECHL players I’ve worked with at various levels now, including some still there from when I left in 2013. The PHPA will provide health insurance into June, but with games stopping, so do the paychecks. Tough time for many.
— Mike Ashmore (@mashmore98) March 15, 2020
Multiple sources: The ECHL is totally cancelled for the rest of the season. Salary will be paid through Monday. They will have insurance through June 30.
— Sara Civ (@SaraCivian) March 15, 2020
- Forward Bobby Macyintre appeared in every Fuel game this season
- Forward Tim Soderlund recorded six points in six ECHL games (two goals and four assists)
- Watson finished third in the ECHL with 31 goals. Watson was on pace to break the franchise record in points, set by Ryan Rupert (64). Watson tied the franchise record of goals in a season.
- Goalie Charles Williams started in a team-high 31 games, recording 18 wins, a 2.81 goals against average and .908 save percentage.
With the season ended, the players can return home and take a step toward their future.