The league gets underway Friday with teams playing closer to home, with schedules built around divisional play, which is a big part of the league and its four divisions.
Getting the season up and running will represent the first goal of the season being achieved.
“I think incredible patience is important in working through the ever-changing landscape,” Frankenfeld said. “… We don’t own the teams, we facilitate their operations and serve as a huge resource to the teams. We had to come up with a good, baseline, return-to-play guidance that they can start from and build off of based on their individual state, facility, locality in order to move forward.
“We built it with a whole team of folks. The goal was to start off with players arriving with negative tests, then really taking that step to monitor for symptoms daily and reporting, pre-travel, post-travel, so that they can maintain a record.”
Each team has a protocol manager responsible for monitoring adherence to the various guidelines it faces.
Once underway, Frankenfeld said it will be important for all involved to remain diligent to keep the league operations as safe as possible.
“Basically, be responsible, the three Ws — wash your hands, wear a mask, watch your distance,” he said.
Frankenfeld said a “pure bubble,” like used in the NHL and NBA is not realistic, but he is hopeful players will show a togetherness within their teams and billet families while living their lives to minimize exposure to outside groups.
“I think some credit has to be given to our owners,” Frankenfeld said. “Junior hockey is a huge financial risk anyway, without the risk of COVID. All but four teams come back, because the four teams were in some restrictive environments that made it difficult and some could not play.
“I want to give our owners who have fought to the very end to be here and get this game back on the ice a lot of credit because they’re taking a huge risk to be here. They’re a special group of guys in both the USHL and the NAHL for the level of hockey they provide.
“I’m proud to be part of it and we’re going to get this thing back on the ice.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.