The Manitoba Moose will not have a chance to make a run at the Calder Cup this spring/summer. With the 2020-21 shortened 36-game regular season schedule nearly wrapped up, the American Hockey League announced on Thursday that there would once again be no Calder Cup presented this year.
In its 85-year history, the league had never missed awarding the Calder Cup until the 2019-20 season, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused the first ever cancellation of the postseason. And sadly, the 2020-21 season will follow suit.
Of the league’s newly formulated five divisions, only the Pacific Division will be able to go ahead with a structured postseason tournament to determine the division champion. The four other divisions (Atlantic, North, Central, Canadian) will not host any form of playoffs.
“While we are disappointed that we will not be able to award the Calder Cup this spring, we are grateful to have been able to provide a safe and competitive environment for more than 1,000 players to play AHL hockey and continue their development,” American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Howson said on Thursday. “We’re especially thankful for the work done by our athletic trainers, COVID-19 officers and other front-line workers to ensure the health and safety of all of our players and staff throughout the league.”
Manitoba currently sits comfortably in second place within the brand-new Canadian Division, boasting a 14-11-3 record through 28 of 36 games. Trailing only the Laval Rocket (22-5-2) the Moose are mathematically able to catch the division’s leader, but it would require winning every single remaining game, and having Laval lose each of its remaining seven games.
Likely finishing within the middle of the pack, Manitoba will probably come short of the Frank S. Mathers Trophy which will be presented to the Canadian Division regular season champion.
Other trophies awarded include the John D. Chick Trophy for the Pacific Division winners, the Emile Francis Trophy for the Atlantic Division champs, the F.G. (Teddy) Oke Trophy for the North Division winners and the Sam Pollock Trophy for the Central Division winners.
Plans have also been put in place for a complete 2021-22 season with all 31 clubs expected to participate. Opening night has been set for October 15, 2021, with the season wrapping up on April 24, 2022.
The Manitoba Moose conclude their home schedule on Thursday afternoon with the final showdown of a five-game set with the Stockton Heat from Bell MTS Iceplex. The team will then head out on the road for its final road trip of the season, beginning in Toronto for three games, before wrapping up in Belleville for another four. Thursday’s 4:00 PM central matchup can be viewed live on AHL TV.