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ECHL's North Division teams cancel seasons

By The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine – Maine's minor league hockey team is going to skip the upcoming season along with all the other franchises in its division.

The Maine Mariners and the other five members of the ECHL North Division said Wednesday they are suspending the 2020-21 season and planning to return in 2021-22. The Mariners play in Portland, the largest city in a state in which ice hockey is a longstanding winter tradition.

"With the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, the increasing rates in our region, and after consulting with local officials, we did not see a clear path toward hosting fans at Mariners games," said Danny Briere, vice president of hockey operations for the Maine Mariners. "We want to thank our fans for their passion and loyalty as we continue to navigate returning to the ice."

The other teams in the division are the Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Newfoundland Growlers, Reading Royals and Worcester Railers.

The Kansas City Mavericks, who play at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, play in the ECHL's Mountain Division, and are planning to start their season on Dec. 11 against the Indy Fuel, a team in the Central Division, in Indianapolis.