The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs announced last week that the franchise will opt out of the 2020-21 season. This decision was made amid ongoing COVID-19 conditions that impact statewide restrictions on mass gatherings and events.
“Today is a tough day for the team,” said Rail Yard Dawgs President Mickey Gray. “We have been working diligently to attempt to have a season, but unfortunately due to current conditions and restrictions we simply cannot. Virginia is still in Phase 3, which limits all gatherings, including hockey games, to 1,000 people. The SPHL gave all teams a decision deadline and we had to make the best decision for our organization long term, which is opting out this season.”
The SPHL will proceed with a 42-game season that includes five of its member teams, the Macon Mayhem, Pensacola Ice Flyers, Birmingham Bulls, Huntsville Havoc, and Knoxville Ice Bears. Along with the Rail Yard Dawgs, the Quad City Storm, Peoria Rivermen, Evansville Thunderbolts and Fayetteville Marksmen have opted out.
“The Rail Yard Dawgs will be back for the 2021-22 season; there is absolutely no question about that. We are already preparing for it,” said Gray. “We have seen a tremendous amount of community support over the past seven months, but our battle isn’t over yet. We will endure the coming months without our normal game-related revenue like tickets, jersey auctions, concessions, and more. Our hope is that fans and supporters continue to rally around the team during this challenging time.”
Season ticket holders and corporate partners who have purchased packages for the 2020-21 season can find information concerning the credit and refund process via the Rail Yard Dawgs website.
“We want to thank our fans, partners, and Rail Yard Dawgs ownership for getting us through this ordeal,” said Gray. “It’s because of them that we will endure this and that we will return for the 2021-22 season and beyond in the Roanoke Valley.”