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Rochester Amerks announce return to play plans

The American Hockey League announced today that the upcoming 2020-21 regular season will begin league play on Friday, Feb. 5 with the Rochester Americans included in the league’s return to play protocol. The upcoming season will be Rochester’s 65th in the AHL and 39th as the top affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.

The Amerks will remain in the AHL’s North Division along with the Binghamton Devils, Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets, and will also be joined by the Hershey Bears, Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the 2020-21 regular season. The schedule format, including number of games, is currently being finalized and will be announced at a later date.

In accordance with local and state government and health officials, games held at The Blue Cross Arena will be played without fans present until further notice.

“While we’re thrilled and excited to finally have the opportunity to bring hockey back to Rochester, we do share in the disappointment that we’ll be forced to start the season without fans in the building due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Amerks Vice President of Business Operations Rob Minter. “The unwavering support from our loyal fans, business and community partners is unrivaled, and now more than ever, we vow to remain as connected as possible to ensure the team feels the impact from our community as we enter our 65th season.

“The health and safety of our guests, along with that of our staff, players, coaches and everyone in the organization, is and will always remain our top priority. We will continue to work with local and state officials and health experts to identify a time that we can safely allow fans to attend games. Until then, however, we must remain vigilant as we continue to navigate through these challenging times.”