The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another major event on the hockey calendar.
Amid a surge of cases that have swept throughout the league over the past two weeks, the AHL announced on Wednesday morning that the 2022 All-Star Classic will be canceled out of an abundance of caution.
The event was set to take place on Feb. 6-7, with the Laval Rocket playing host for the first time as an American League franchise. Despite its cancellation, Commissioner Scott Howson affirmed in an official statement that the AHL is committed to bringing the All-Star Classic to Laval in the near future, offering at least some solace to a fan base that was undoubtedly excited to welcome the festivities to their home rink.
Much like their parent league, the AHL has been hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 virus as the Omicron variant continues to spread at alarming rates. With numerous games postponed and multiple teams reporting over 10 players and staff in protocols, ensuring that all measures are taken to prevent further outbreaks is imperative.
The All-Star Classic would have brought the best players from all 32 AHL clubs to Laval in just six weeks. While cancelling the event is assuredly disappointing, that was simply not a risk the league was willing to take.