Rail Yard Dawgs in 'hurry up and wait' mode following SPHL suspension

VINTON, Va. (WDBJ) -- The Southern Professional Hockey League joined nearly every other organized sports league on Thursday by suspending its season amid concerns over the coronavirus.

For the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs, that means a playoff push is put on hold.

Team President Mickey Gray said the league's Board of Governors will likely meet again in the next week to determine the next steps in this time of uncertainty.

"It's a lot of hurry up and wait," Gray said Friday. "We're not able to do anything official. The guys are all still in town here. The directive has just been to wait for the time being."

Through 47 games, the Dawgs are 16-22-9. Their 41 points are good for seventh place in the SPHL, but the league's bottom three teams are all tied with 40 points. The top eight teams in the standings qualify for the postseason.

"I know they're probably going a little bit stir-crazy," Gray said. "Hockey players want to play hockey but, unfortunately, that's just not a possibility at the current moment."

Amid the suspension, players will be on their own for workouts and any related training activities.

"I think every guy is probably taking care of himself in his own way but, as far as organized team stuff, we have been shut down on that on the whole hockey side."

Gray also acknowledged the impact of the suspension on those involved with Dawgs hockey games other than the players.

"When we start missing games, everybody is affected," he said. "The reality is we have seven home games on our schedule left. That's 25 percent of our schedule so not only does it have a very real, direct impact on the Rail Yard Dawgs, but there's the parking attendants, the ticket takers, the box office and operations people that rely on the games."

As far as fans and season ticket holders, Gray said it's all about having patience for the time being.

"When we know more, we'll tell you more," he said, "and whatever we have to do, we'll put those plans into place at whatever point that we have more information."

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