The American Hockey League announced Jan. 4 that 28 minor league teams affiliated with National Hockey League franchises, including the Texas Stars, will participate in the upcoming 2021 season.
The AHL season will begin Feb. 5, according to a news release from the AHL.
No official schedules or game start times have been released yet. According to the AHL, team schedules, number of games and playoff information are yet to be determined; that information will be released at a later date.
“Details are still being worked out, but this step allows our teams and their National Hockey League partners to better determine their plans for the coming season. We look forward to dropping the puck on Feb. 5,” AHL President and CEO Scott Hown said in a Dec. 30 news release.
While the Texas Stars, a team owned by and affiliated with the NHL’s Dallas Stars, are participating in the 2021 AHL season, three other AHL teams—the Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Admirals and Springfield Thunderbirds—chose to opt out of playing in the upcoming season ahead of the league’s Jan. 4 announcement. The AHL has stated that all three teams will return to play in the 2021-22 season.
Following the loss of those three teams and in the face of travel restrictions with the league’s four Canadian teams, the AHL released a realignment of its divisions Jan. 4.
The Texas Stars will play the 2021 season in the Central Division with five other teams: the Chicago Wolves, Cleveland Monsters, Grand Rapids Griffins, Iowa Wild and Rockford IceHogs.
While competition formats have yet to be released by the AHL, team schedules may look similar to what the NHL has established. North America’s top professional hockey league realigned its divisions for the 2021 season, with teams only competing against other teams in their division during the regular season.
The NHL season begins Jan. 13, with the Dallas Stars’ season opener scheduled the following day. Training camp for the NHL team is currently underway.
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) January 4, 2021
GAMES AT CEDAR PARK
Under Gov. Greg Abbott’s state coronavirus guidelines, fans can attend professional sports games at indoor venues, such as the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, home of the Texas Stars. According to the governor’s orders, indoor venues may restrict the number of spectators to 50% of the venue’s capacity.
“The Texas Stars anticipate hosting fans in a limited capacity at home games during the 2020-21 season and details are still being finalized. We appreciate your patience as we continue that process,” the AHL team stated in a Jan. 4 Facebook post.
While no tickets are available for Texas Stars games online as of publishing time, the H-E-B Center is selling indoor tickets for other sporting events, such as a Professional Bull Riders season opener.
The Austin Spurs, the NBA G League team that plays out of the H-E-B Center, have not resumed play in 2021. As of publishing time, the NBA’s minor league has not officially stated whether it will resume play this spring.