AHL Cancels Remainder of Season and Playoffs

This morning the Binghamton Devils announced via their website that the American Hockey League Board of Governors have voted to cancel the rest of the 2019-20 regular season as well as the 2020 Calder Cup playoffs.

The article on the B-Devils’ official site had an official statement from the league. “After a lengthy review process, the American Hockey League has determined that the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 season is not feasible in light of current conditions. The League’s operational focus has turned toward actively preparing for the 2020-21 season. We are very grateful to the National Hockey League and its teams for their support and leadership in navigating through the challenges faced over the past two months. The AHL continues to place paramount importance on the health and safety of our players, officials, staff and fans and all of their families, and we all look forward to returning to our arenas in 2020-21.”

The Binghamton Devils, who were one of the hottest teams in all of hockey (they had not seemingly lost since Christmas) in their push to make the Calder Cup playoffs, will be one team that will be extremely adversely impacted by this decision. Could they have carried over their momentum into the playoffs? That will remain an unknown.

However, Binghamton did release a statement saying “the Binghamton Devils fully support the decision made by the American Hockey League to cancel the rest of the 2019-20 season. The health and safety of our fans, players, partners, and staff are the top priority.” They also thanked the fans for supporting the team through their “historic run towards the playoffs.”

According to the article, the “AHL’s standings – sorted by points percentage – and statistics as of March 12, 2020, are considered final and official, and will serve as the basis for determining league awards for the 2019-20 season.” The B-Devils had moved into fourth place in the Eastern Conference’s North Division with 72 points over 62 games played. They finished with a record of 34-24-4-0.

As for Binghamton Devils fans with tickets to canceled games, the team has a FAQ on their website (binghamtondevils.com) to help sort that out.

Street is Binghamton’s AHL Man of the Year Nominee

The Binghamton Devils have named their IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. He is their captain, Ben Street. He received the award due to “his outstanding contributions to the Binghamton community during the 2019-20 season.”

According to the Binghamton website, “Street has committed over 20 hours of community service, attending events such as talking with local youth hockey players and meeting with fans. He spearheaded a shopping tripe with his team, who purchased over $400 of food to donate to an annual food drive (Fill the Food-A-Bago).”

He also, along with his wife, “brought the team together to donate Christmas presents to over 20 children in need for the local Family Enrichment network during the holidays, as well as attending the Toys-for-Tots Spaghetti Dinner where he served spaghetti in return for donated toys.”

Street now becomes the Binghamton Devils’ finalist “for the AHL’s 2019-20 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year.” The final award will be named by the AHL “at a later date.”

In some sadder news, I also wanted to pay respects to two people involved with the Devils from the beginning who recently passed away due to COVID-19.

The first is Judge John A. Conte, who died back in early April. Judge Conte was a Bergen County Superior Court Judge who was a fan and season ticket holder for the Devils since they arrived in East Rutherford in 1982.

He was also known for taking Devils rookies into his home as a way to get the young players adjusted to life in the Garden State. These players included Ken Daneyko, Craig Wolanin, Brendan Shanahan and Scott Niedermayer.

Judge Conte was 83 when he passed.

Another close member of the Devils family who passed away was Dr. Barry Fisher. He was the Devils’ team orthopedist from 1982 to 2015.

Dr. Fisher has his name on the Stanley Cup as a member of the team’s medical staff in 1995, 2000 and 2003.

Dr. Fisher died on April 17 from COVID-19 related issues and was 69 years old.