Two teams in the United States Hockey League, the only Tier I junior league in the United States, and one of the top feeders to college hockey, announced that two of their teams will opt out of participating in the this year’s USHL season.
The first is the Madison Capitols, whose decision was based on the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Restrictions in Dane County, home to Madison, limited the Capitols’ ability to host games, and more specifically, play games with fans in the building. That lack of revenue made a season unsustainable for the Capitols. The state of Wisconsin continues to struggle with the pandemic, posting a new one-day high on Thursday with over 2000 reported new cases.
The second team to withdraw from the season is the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, though not necessarily due to the pandemic. The Roughriders arena, ImOn Arena, was badly damaged during a derecho storm on August 10th, leaving the Roughriders without a home rink to play in.
These two USHL teams join three teams in USA Hockey’s only Tier II league, the NAHL—Corpus Christi Ice Rays, Kansas City Scouts, and Springfield Jr. Blues—in opting out of the season.
Players on those two USHL rosters will be entered into a dispersal draft held at a later date. Both teams plan to participate in the 2021-2022 season.