AUSTIN, Minn. - Teams across the nation are left wondering about the season that could’ve been including the Austin Bruins.
Enter Riverside Arena and you will drink in the silence. There are no fans in the bleachers, no skates cutting the ice, no pucks dinging off the glass and backer boards, and no players in sight. The athletes are all headed home after Monday’s decision by the NAHL to cancel the remainder of the regular season.
“It was a little somber,” said Bruins director of Broadcasting & Sales Operations, TJ Chillot. “The guys had a little bit of an opportunity to think about it because when the season went on pause, everybody’s next thought was ‘what happens if we get canceled?”
Head Coach Steve Howard says the past week has been a whirlwind.
“It’s crazy. You’re getting ready for a weekend last Thursday to play Minot here (Austin) and go there the following week. We’re doing video, pre-scouts, setting up a practice plan, and then all of the sudden the season is over,” Howard said.
Tuesday morning, there was still hope to see the Robertson Cup playoffs but nothing is certain – leaving players, coaches, staff, and fans wondering, what if?
“This is a weird one because I didn’t get a chance to have that closure,” Howard added. “We didn’t get a chance to sit down and have exit meetings with some of the guys and I just said bye to a couple of the ‘99s and you’re kind of saying bye to them, but you’re not really saying bye to them because you could see them in a few weeks.”
That was before the team had learned the news that the Robertson Cup had also been canceled.