Minor League Sports

United States Hockey League eyes an early-November regular-season start

Damage to ImOn Ice Arena brings massive uncertainty for Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

Severe damage is seen to the corner of the ImOn Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Ga
Severe damage is seen to the corner of the ImOn Ice Arena in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Stressing flexibility, the United States Hockey League announced late Tuesday afternoon a return-to-play plan that includes the regular season beginning Nov. 6.

How that will work in Cedar Rapids, in particular, is a huge question. The ImOn Ice Arena, home of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, suffered tremendous damage in last week’s derecho storm, and will be unusable for an extended period of time.

The USHL said in a press release the league is targeting 54 regular-season games played between Nov. 6 and April 24, 2001. Players are scheduled to arrive in their respective cities over a four-week period beginning Sept. 14, with preseason games targeted for mid-October.

“All activities are designed to take place in accordance with local, state and federal guidelines, as well as the League’s Return To Play Protocols, which are currently being finalized,” the USHL said.

The USHL’s plan was formalized with input from all 16 of its clubs, which are located in Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio.

“We have created a plan to bring players to our markets and in order to safely begin development and ultimately competition,” said USHL President Tom Garrity. ”Should conditions change, this plan will allow our league the flexibility to react to new circumstances, and we will adjust accordingly.”

The league said it expects to release team schedules in the “coming weeks.”

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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