MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Muskegon Lumberjacks announced this week the team will play the 2020-21 season, but without fans in the stands.
"Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we live and work. At this time, the State of Michigan will not allow Lumberjack fans inside Mercy Health Arena," a letter from Lumberjacks' owners Dan Israel and Bob Kaiser read.
"This directive will have a serious impact on the organization’s ability to function economically. Beyond the financial implications, these young men have worked nearly their entire lives to play for a team like the Lumberjacks. To turn them away this season could have detrimental, permanent setbacks," the letter continued.
The United States Hockey League (USHL) granted the Lumberjacks permission to "go dark" which would have given the team the chance to shut down for the season.
"We cannot, in good conscious, take the game away from these young men at such a pivotal time in their lives," Israel and Kaiser said in the letter. "We will not allow temporary circumstances to permanently jeopardize what they have worked so hard to achieve."
In accordance with all government directives, the Muskegon Lumberjacks decided to go forth and play the 2020-21 season, but without in-person support from fans.
"While we will miss the in-person support of our fans, it is our sincere hope that at some point this season we can all be together again, cheering on this great team at Mercy Health Arena," the letter continued.
Fans will still be able to watch games all season long on HockeyTV. Muskegon also offers free audio via Mixlr for every home game, and many other USHL teams do the same.
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