Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), regretfully announce that we will be suspending operations for the 2020-21 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal is to take this time to adapt and adjust so that we can successfully return to the ice for the 2021-22 NAHL season.
The State of Illinois is currently in Phase 4 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois plan which prohibits gatherings of over 50 people, effectively eliminating the ability to play games regardless of fans. The NAHL is scheduled to start the season on October 8th and we do not anticipate a change in the guidelines in time for us to start the season.
“It has been a very difficult and trying time for all of the Springfield community and the great businesses that make up the Capital City Area” said Dan Ferguson, owner of the Jr. Blues. “I am extremely saddened by the decision I had to make for the upcoming season, but I feel it is the right decision for the safety of all parties including our staff, players, housing families, and fans.”
This decision marks an historic turn in NAHL history as it will be the first season since 1993 that the Jr. Blues will not be on the ice. As the longest tenured franchise in the league, we have successfully moved nearly 400 players onto the NCAA and just over 150 players onto professional hockey. We are one of six franchises in league history to win back-to-back Robertson Cup Championships, and we are the only franchise to continuously play in four consecutive decades.
“The Jr. Blues will be back, period! I am dedicated to keeping high level hockey alive and well in Springfield,” continued Ferguson. “We just have to be patient and wait for safer times. I am not in the medical field, nor am I in the business of making public health policy, so we will sit out until science and policy allows us to resume.”
Illinois will not be eligible to move into Phase 5 of the Reopen Illinois plan, which would allow social gatherings of more than 50 people, until a vaccine is available or herd immunity is established. At this current time we do not have a timeline of when to expect changes here in Springfield.
As more information and news becomes available, we will make sure to relay it to you as soon as we can.