The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, December 30, 2020 7:00 pm

Possible good news on K's season

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

I reported recently that things were trending in a positive direction for the Komets to play this season, thanks to the Allen County Department of Health approving a plan for them to have 2,619 fans for a potential home opener come February. 

However, the Komets' hopes of playing are closely linked to whether or not the Toledo Walleye can play, too, since the Komets sorely need at least three teams in close proximity to cut down on travel and safety protocols amid a pandemic.

Things may have improved a bit on the Walleye front, according to multiple sources, given what happened this week with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. After beginning with only 300 fans allowed, the Cavaliers received a variance to allow 10% capacity, or 1,944 fans, though the team was hoping for about 23%.

While 10% equates to only about 800 fans for Walleye games, and who knows if they would be willing to stomach such small crowds to start, the belief is that the window could be opening a bit for Toledo to play come February, especially if the Walleye believe the arrival of a vaccine means larger crowds would be allowed in short order.

Thirteen ECHL teams have been playing already. Kalamazoo and Cincinnati are among 11 ECHL teams who have opted out of the season. Fort Wayne and Toledo are the only undecideds. If Toledo cannot play, Indy and Wheeling would be the only teams within 300 miles of Fort Wayne. Kansas City would be the next closest at 597 miles.

With Fort Wayne hoping to avoid hotel stays, a lack of opponents is almost as problematic as COVID-19 safety protocols as the Komets plan for a possible season. But I have to believe the Komets, who don't want lose their 69th consecutive season, are exploring how they could play without Toledo by limiting road trips as much as they can.

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