SPHL cancels remainder of season, ending Rail Yard Dawgs campaign

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -- There will be no more hockey at the Berglund Center this spring after the SPHL canceled the remainder of its 2019-2020 season on Sunday amid concerns over COVID-19.

"The decision made to cancel the remainder of the regular season and playoffs was extremely difficult," said league Commissioner Doug Price in a news release. "Difficult in the fact that it brings a premature end to what was shaping up to be a tremendous and potentially historic finish to the season."

The league had previously suspended play on Thursday before the decision to cancel the remaining games came down.

"What we are all facing right now is bigger than the SPHL, bigger than hockey and bigger than sports," Price added.

After the decision, Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs team President Mickey Gray released a letter to fans, expressing "shock, frustration and disappointment."

"Despite the devastating financial impact, we believe this to be the right thing to do at this time for the safety of our players, staff and, most importantly, the great fans of this organization," Gray said in the letter.

At the time play was suspended, Roanoke held a 16-22-9 record and was sitting in seventh place in the league standings. The top eight teams would have advanced to the postseason.

"I will not lie to you, the financial impact of losing one-fourth of our home schedule this season will be substantial," Gray added in the letter. "Despite this setback, we will pick ourselves up off of the mat and we will endure. We have been fortunate to have this phenomenal and supportive fan base in our four seasons in this community. That support will be important now more than ever as we navigate through this challenging time."

The team will be communicating details regarding refunds and credits for fans who had purchased tickets to upcoming games in the coming days, Gray said.

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