Due to the impact of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Champions Hockey League cannot take place in 2020/21 as planned. The CHL Board was forced to take this difficult decision as the general situation in Europe has not improved.
The Champions Hockey League provides Europe’s 32 best teams from 12 countries with a platform to perform and to compete for the European Trophy. It is an international competition which helps players and coaches to develop, while fans enjoy following their teams abroad and learning about new ice hockey cultures. However, it is exactly this international focus that became the biggest struggle for the CHL during the current pandemic.
Travel restrictions between participating countries had already put several match-ups at risk. Although a number of authorities would potentially issue special permits for travelling sport teams, a vast amount of uncertainty and risks remained. Many discussions and evaluations have taken place in the last few weeks and months with involved parties, taking all available facts and forecasts into consideration.
“All things considered, the CHL Board had to come to the very difficult conclusion that playing a 2020/21 season is not manageable for the Champions Hockey League or the participating clubs from both an operational and economic perspective”, CHL President Peter Zahner said after an extraordinary video conference on Tuesday. “The health and safety of all participating teams is of the highest priority, and with the current development of the epidemiological situation we unfortunately would not be able to guarantee that everyone always returns home in good health and without needing to undergo quarantine restrictions, no matter how sophisticated our protection concepts are.”
For these reasons, the 2020/21 season will be cancelled - a step which is announced with great regret as the CHL was working hard during the last couple of months to make a European club competition happen despite difficult times. Zahner continued: “I would like to thank all of our participating clubs, shareholders, partners and everyone else involved for the support we received with preparations for this very unique 2020/21 season. The pandemic is beyond our control, this is a fact we unfortunately must accept.”
The Champions Hockey League was introduced in 2014/15 as the pan-European club competition in ice hockey. The organisation has signed a long-term partnership with its media and marketing partner Infront until 2027/28. “We will now take our time to analyse the situation and find ways for our organisation how to overcome the difficult time. We are confident that the COVID-19 situation will normalise within the next couple of months and that the CHL will come back in 2021/22 better than ever”, Zahner added.