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Rebels Going Dormant

Team Will Sit Out 2020-21 Season Due To State Restrictions

The Jamestown Rebels announced Monday morning that they have suspended operations for the 2020-21 North American Hockey League season. P-J file photo by Matt Spielman

The Jamestown Rebels announced Monday morning that they have suspended operations for the 2020-21 North American Hockey League season.

The Rebels are the fourth NAHL team to go dormant for the upcoming season, joining the Corpus Christi IceRays, Kansas City Scouts and Springfield Jr. Blues.

“It is with great sadness that we are announcing the Jamestown Rebels have suspended operations for the 2020-21 season,” Rebels head coach Joe Coombs said in a statement. “The Rebels will not play the 2020-21 season in the state of New York because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Return to Play guidelines set forth by the state of New York.

“We will return to play in the 2021-22 season,” Coombs added. “We will begin building a new hockey team as soon as travel restrictions and scouting across the country resumes.”

The Rebels roster, as well as players from the IceRays, Scouts and Blues will be dispersed among the 24 remaining NAHL teams via a draft lottery in the near future.

“It has been a very difficult and trying time for the Rebels and the entire Jamestown community, but we feel it was the right decision for the safety of all parties, including our staff, players, billet families and fans,” Coombs said. “We made every attempt to play and appreciate the cooperation we received from all parties, including Northwest Arena, but there were just too many obstacles to overcome.”

The Rebels brought the North American Hockey League back to Jamestown in 2018 when they replaced the NA3HL’s Southern Tier Xpress.

“We are disappointed that the Rebels will not be able to participate in the 2020-21 NAHL season. We exhausted many options in our attempt return to play, but unfortunately none of them were in the best interest of our players, staff and fans. We remain fully committed to return to play in the NAHL for the 2021-22 season and look forward to continuing our proud tradition we have established the past six years with our great partners in the East Division,” said Ken Dennis, Rebels owner and governor. “We appreciate the support of the NAHL and specifically Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld, who worked tirelessly to try and keep us playing this season. We are looking forward to our return to the ice in the 2021-22 and wish good luck to our partners in the East Division and all the players in the NAHL this season.”

When the Rebels moved to Jamestown, city and Northwest Arena officials announced an eight-year deal with the franchise.

“During this difficult period, we remain appreciative of the strong, positive and productive working relationship the Northwest Arena continues to have with the Rebels leadership team. Although there were significant barriers which caused the NAHL season in Jamestown to be suspended this year, we collectively are committed to supporting the Rebels long-term future in our community and at the Northwest Arena,” David Leathers, Northwest Arena Board of Directors co-president, said Monday. “The Northwest Arena staff and board will work directly with the Rebels staff members to prepare aggressively for an outstanding lead-up to an exciting season next year.”

The Rebels have been members of the NAHL since the 2015-16 season. Over the course of their five seasons in the East Division, the Rebels have posted a 178-94-22 record in 294 NAHL regular-season games. This past season, the Rebels were in fifth place in the East Division with a 21-30-3 record when the season was canceled.

The Rebels made back-to-back appearances in the Robertson Cup Championships in 2016 and 2017 as the East Division playoff champions. Their best season in the NAHL came during the 2016-17 season when the team won the East Division regular season and playoff titles, and had the best record in the NAHL during the regular season with a 46-11-3 mark.

The rest of the NAHL still intends to play the upcoming season, with the start dates and end dates a little later than usual.

“We support the Rebels decision to suspend operations and will continue to work with them to make sure they can make a safe return to play in 2021-22,” said Frankenfeld, NAHL commissioner and president. “The local and state restrictions currently in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic made it very difficult for them to successfully operate.”

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