By Suzie Cool (@SuzKewl) | Published on March 20, 2020
Let’s go back to last Wednesday night when the Rochester Americans were hosting the Binghamton Devils in a pivotal North Division matchup at The Blue Cross Arena.
At this point in the season, every single game counts and the Amerks are sitting in second place in the North with just a two-point advantage over the Utica Comets and six points behind the first-place Belleville Senators. Only 14 games remain in the regular season, with seven being right here in the Flower City and the last one slated for April 10.
As the final buzzer rang, the Amerks unfortunately fell to the Devils 5-2 and they all headed into the locker room ready to reset their focus for their next matchup come Friday night. But what they all discovered next came as a shock to all.
Word soon began to spread that the NBA had suspended its season due to a player testing positive for COVID-19 prior to tip-off.
“It was weird, and it was just such an unprecedented time that nobody knew how to react. Everyone was almost in a state of shock that this was all happening. And everything happened so drastically fast, it seemed like they were just taking precautions to just shutting everything down within 24 hours,” said Amerks veteran defenseman and assistant captain Nathan Paetsch when asked about the team’s initial reactions to the NBA news.
All within a 24-hour time period after the NBA’s suspension, all major professional sports leagues and colleges had suspended their seasons, including the American Hockey League. Not meaning that games had been canceled or playoff hopes were not in reach, but that Friday night face-off against the Syracuse Crunch that was scheduled to be played in downtown Rochester would have to wait just a little bit longer.
With so little left of the 2019-20 regular season, it comes as no shock that it’s a little disappointing for the Amerks to be navigating through uncharted territory as the remainder of the year has been put on pause for the time being.
“It’s kind of sad and disappointing that this is all happening and it’s out of everybody’s control and everybody is just trying to do the best that they can to keep as many people as safe as possible,” said Paetsch as he described the emotions that were felt when everything began to completely shut down. “The whole thing is kind of surreal and at the end of the day this has never happened in my lifetime.”
It’s been a little over a week now since the postponement of all the major professional sports leagues and colleges and their respective seasons. Things have also changed in the sense that there’s limited access to anything outside of grocery stores and gas stations and players have been advised to return to their hometowns in order to wait out the storm that COVID-19 has presented.
Now although the current situation presents itself as an unfortunate circumstance, there’s always time to turn lemons into lemonade and Paestch made sure to mention how he’s using this time to focus more on his family and continue to remain as healthy as possible. And with one last note, the Amerks assistant captain wants everyone to remain as safe as possible during this unknown period of time.
“Just try to stay as safe as possible and whenever there are times of difficulty like this, it gives you an extraordinary chance to do something great and to be a better person in the community. There’s going to be several people in great need, so it’s a great opportunity for people that are capable to step up and help those in the community.”
The Amerks regular season has yet to be declared officially over and all players look forward to finishing up what they started here during the 2019-20 campaign if given the green light. Until then, listen to the long-time Amerks defenseman and just stay safe and healthy in order for the Amerks to be able to make a quick return.