PIHL cancels remaining playoff games from 2019-20 season

Sunday, May 17, 2020 | 6:21 PM

In a move it hoped to avoid, the PIHL on Sunday afternoon canceled the remainder of the unplayed playoff games from the 2019-20 season.

The PIHL expressed its regret in a statement on Twitter and went on to thank the players, coaches, managers, administrators and game staff for their contributions to the league’s regular-season and postseason efforts.

“It was frustrating in a sense that our seniors, who also didn’t have the prom and a normal graduation and everything else, might not get a chance to finish their high school careers the way they wanted,” PIHL commissioner John Mucha said.

“We were doing everything we could to hold out hope for them and the rest of the players, naturally, to be able to get these games in. It was very disappointing from their perspective. We wanted to wait as long as we could.”

Mucha said the league, as summer approached, faced challenges such as players finding jobs, getting ready for college and families making plans.

“We just ran out of time,” he said.

Mucha said the PIHL worked closely with USA Hockey to help get through the process. The PIHL suspended the playoffs March 12 in the early stages of the safety response to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, the PIAA suspended the winter basketball and swimming championships. Those two events, along with the entire spring athletic season, were cancelled a couple of weeks later.

The PIHL said it was going to look at all options for resuming the playoffs with the possibility of playing without family and fans in attendance.

Varsity Class AA, Class A and Class B had reached their respective championship games. Baldwin was to face Latrobe in the Class AA finals, and Thomas Jefferson and Indiana were to meet in the Class A championship game.

The Class B title matchup had Carrick ready to take on Ringgold.

The Class AAA tournament was at the semifinal round, with top seed North Allegheny against No. 5 Pine-Richland and No. 3 Peters Township against No. 7 Seneca Valley.

The finals were to be March 16 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry with the state finals for Class AAA, AA and A on March 21 in West Chester.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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