NORFOLK, Va. - Today, the Norfolk Admirals met for the final time this season after it was announced Saturday that the ECHL has canceled the remainder of the season due to the coronavirus.
Many on the team are from other countries, including Canada, and the Canada natives have become concerned since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada is closing its borders to all travelers who are not citizens or permanent residents.
Trudeau said U.S. citizens, immediate family members, diplomats and air crews are exempt from the restrictions at this time.
“A lot of the Canadian guys are on the fence right now on whether or not to drive or to fly because the border could be shut down,” Admirals defenseman Andrew McLean said.
Admirals forward Andrew Durham is a roommate to two of the team's canadian players, who have a long drive ahead of them as they plan to travel from the 757 to British Columbia, which is roughly a 3,000 mile drive.
“The good news is they’ll be able to get back in their home country at least, and get back to their families without having to run into any blocks at the airport,” Durham said.
“I know some guys that are flying overseas," McLean said about a few of Norfolk's XX players from other countries. "They’ve gotta be ready to land with masks on and whatnot. They just want to make sure they’re gonna be able to get home.”
As some Admirals worry about traveling home, others worry about job security.
For professional hockey players on an amateur tryout contract, or ATO, they're given a limited amount of time to earn a spot on the roster.
Durham's ATO time was cut short. He was given a time frame of five games or ten days to showcase his talents, but only got to play three games before the season abruptly ended.
“For someone like me that’s just kind of the luck of the draw," Durham said "That’s the hand I’ve been dealt and I’m done.”
“Everybody comes in, they want a fair chance," McLean said. "With the season being cut short on ATO it’s devastating. Obviously Durham’s a great player and he just wasn’t able to showcase his true talent the rest of the season.”
The Admirals end their season with a 14-38 record.