The United States Hockey League (USHL) announced Friday the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and Madison Capitols will suspend operations for the 2020-21 season.
The RoughRiders home arena, the ImOn Ice Arena incurred substantial damage during an August 10, 2020 derecho storm. The Capitols face significant county restrictions related to COVID-19 that affect their ability to practice, play and host spectators.
A dispersal draft will be held for the players currently on both team’s rosters. Both teams plan to resume play for the 2021-22 USHL season.
“Both clubs were resolute in their desire to take the ice, but ultimately these extenuating circumstances prevent them from playing this season,” said USHL President and Commissioner Tom Garrity. “We share the disappointment of RoughRiders and Capitols fans, and we look forward to welcoming these Clubs back for the 2021-22 season.”
This will be the first USHL season without the RoughRiders since they joined the league for the 1999-2000 season. Since joining the league, Cedar Rapids and General Manager & Head Coach Mark Carlson have amassed a 665-467-116 record. Carlson is the second-winningest Coach in USHL history and three-time USHL Coach of the Year (2005, 2011, 2016) and led the team to the Clark Cup Championship in 2005.
“The property damage suffered in the entire Cedar Rapids area by its residents and businesses was significant,” said RoughRiders President, General Manager and Head Coach Mark Carlson. “Our community will rebuild and recover from the storm. We have already begun planning our return for the USHL 2021-22 hockey season.”
The Capitols joined the league starting in the 2014-15 season and have registered 20-or-more wins in four of their five full seasons. Tom Upton was hired as General Manager & Head Coach this offseason and was set to compete in his first season as a USHL head coach.
“This is an extremely difficult decision for our organization as we are deeply disappointed for our players, fans and the Madison community,” said Capitols Owner Ryan Suter. “However, due to Dane County’s restrictions, we are unable to play games and host fans in our venue. We are preparing our return in the 2021-22 season.”
The USHL is preparing a 14-team regular season schedule to be released soon. The regular season is scheduled to begin on Friday, November 6.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the 2020-21 season will be the USHL's 19th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league. The USHL had 55 players selected at the 2019 NHL Draft and have 542 players eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, including 84 on the NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings issued in April. More than 800 league alumni are currently on NCAA Division I rosters, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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