The Adirondack Thunder hockey team will not be hitting the ice in Glens Falls this year.
Glens Falls is a hockey town, but this year the Cool Insuring Arena will not host its semi-pro ECHL team, the Adirondack Thunder.
In October, the ECHL announced a plan for a split start to the 2020-2021 season, with 13 teams starting in December and 12 teams, including the Thunder, starting in January.
But as COVID-19 spikes across the country, the Thunder – along with five other teams in league’s North Division – announced this week that they would sit this season out.
Thunder team president and Cool Insuring Arena General Manager Jeff Mead and Thunder head coach Alex Loh held a press conference Thursday to answer questions from fans.
Mead said the decision to not host games in Glens Falls came as the teams in the North Division decided to “band together.”
“And they were all in the same boat as us – just not able to have fans in the building.”
Loh said it was a tough moment when a team meeting was held this week to inform players the season was canceled. Loh said the team had been training for a regular season.
“They’re just devastated. We all are,” said Loh.
But team officials vowed to return. Mead told fans to expect hockey to return next October.
“We will be back for the 2021-2022 season. In for the long term here in Glens Falls,” said Mead.
And Loh said some of the players are also eager to stay in Glens Falls.
“I’ve offered all of them their contracts back for next season,” said Loh.
Under union contract terms, all players in the ECHL North Division are now considered free agents for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season.
In 2017, the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition, which owns the Cool Insuring Arena, announced a “Keep Hockey Here” campaign. The fundraising effort was successful and the Coalition was able to purchase the Thunder from its NHL parent organization, the Calgary Flames.
Mead said that the “Keep Hockey Here” campaign will return.
‘We’ll be out in the community fundraising and talking to all of our former partners, have been tremendous the last four years. Without them, again, there would be no Adirondack Thunder hockey,” said Mead.
The Thunder has also started using a hashtag on social media, #RISEUP.
The team says that season ticket pricing for 2021-2022 will remain flat and hockey fans can grab their seats when tickets go on sale December 1st.
The ECHL North Division also includes the Brampton Beast, Maine Mariners, Newfoundland Growlers, Reading Royals and Worcester Railers.