There are increasing concerns that the 2020/21 Elite League season may not happen at all.
Although a start date of December 5 has been pencilled in, a growing number of officials are becoming sceptical as to whether the league will take to the ice at all this season.
Fans have seen games resume elsewhere, in Belarus, Czech Republic and Russia are taking place, as well as of course the NHL play-offs. And if you’re one of those fans enjoying placing a bet on the game, you’ll definitely find this bet365 bonus code useful.
As things stand with recruitment, the bookmakers would find it difficult to pin the favourites for the Elite League season if it was to go ahead, with clubs at various stages of building their roster, the ongoing uncertainty making it a tricky process this summer.
“We want to get the right guys in and it is a weird market right now because some leagues might start earlier and some might even start later than ours.
“So, we are just remaining patient and focusing on building the best team possible for the coming season.”
Clubs are dependent on the doors being open for fans to attend, which prompted the late start date to ensure as much chance as possible was given to enable this to happen.
In an interview on BIH last week, Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty said he was unsure we would see any action, while Glasgow Clan’s chief operating officer Gareth Chalmers is also dubious.
He told Herald Scotland: “We aim to go ahead later this year like everyone else, but I’m highly sceptical.
“Unless we can get the green light from the government and no social distancing in the venues, that’s the only way we can start.”
Nottingham Panthers owner Neil Black was positive about the league resuming in an interview with the BBC last week, but acknowledged that the worst case scenario was that the league was mothballed for a year and then started up again in 2021.
He said: “I’d like to be positive and think we can go ahead in December. For me, the date is a good date. We need to see how schools open in September and the government is under pressure from the football industry, especially fans of teams below the Premier League.
“I’m entirely confident that if the worst case scenario is there is no league, then we can pick right up again in 2021. This sport has a long history and will be around and flourish in the future. I am certain.”
Speaking to the Sheffield Star, Steelers coach Aaron Fox revealed they have 15 players signed – but the remaining recruitment is frozen while they wait to see what happens with the season.
Although there are still nearly four months until the scheduled start date, clubs will need a two month lead time to prepare for the campaign.
Some have sold season tickets so far, though many have held back until the outlook is more certain.
With regional lockdowns being enforced, as well as the cancellation of pilot events to trial getting fans back for outdoor sporting events, the prospects of fans being allowed inside to watch ice hockey still looks a long way away.