MOLINE, Illinois — The Quad City Storm announced Tuesday they have opted out of the 2020-2021 SPHL season.
In a press release, Storm officials cite Illinois COVID restrictions on mass gatherings as the primary reason for the decision: "Due to restrictions on mass gatherings put in place by the State of Illinois as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the Quad City Storm will be sitting out the 2020-2021 SPHL season. The State is currently in Phase 4 of the “Restore Illinois” plan, which prohibits individuals from attending large gatherings without a proven vaccine or cure for COVID-19. The current mandate would allow just fifty people to attend a Storm game."
The team said they will resume normal operations in the 2021-2022 season.
“This is a challenge, to be certain, but a challenge we have recognized as a possibility since the middle of the summer,” said team owner John Dawson. “We are prepared for the next ten months and are setting our sights on keeping our supporters engaged and growing our fan base to make the 2021-2022 season our best yet.”
Storm officials said season ticket holders and corporate partners will be contacted in the coming weeks.
“One of the things that makes the SPHL great is that we are all a family. Today the league needed teams to make the decision if they would be opting in or out to ensure the success of those teams that want to play. We are very disappointed to not be moving forward, but want to do all we can to ensure the success of our SPHL family, particularly those members who will be playing this season,” Dawson added.
Four other teams, including the Peoria Rivermen, have also opted out.
“This is a tough day for the SPHL, particularly because the circumstances that necessitated this decision are out of our control,” said SPHL Commissioner Doug Price. “When we were forced to suspend our season back in March, it was a difficult decision, but we immediately turned our focus to the upcoming 2020-2021 season. I do not think any of us imagined we would still be dealing with this seven months later. We are fully supportive of Quad City’s decision and look forward to having all of our teams back for the 2021-2022 season.”
Storm leaders say the team will retain the rights to all thirteen players from the protected list released earlier this Summer for the 2021-2022 season.
“Today is a tough day,” said Storm Head Coach Dave Pszenyczny. “Like many of our players and fans, the hockey season has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. There is going to be a void, and I am really disappointed we won’t get to see our roster of guys on the ice this season. After the bad taste left in our mouths with the abrupt end of last year, it will be a long wait until next October. But make no mistake, we’ll be ready.”