The Macon Mayhem were so close to making the playoffs before their season got canceled that they could practically taste it.
They were just a few points out of the final two spots, and the way things ended definitely left bad tastes in their mouths, but now they’re more motivated than ever.
“I think there were three teams tied at 40 points and there was one at 41,” said Mayhem head coach Ryan Michel. “The 4 of us were vying for seventh and eighth. So two — two spots — we were right there.”
Before the season was canceled, the Mayhem had won six of their last nine games and three of their last four. They were clicking at the right time, so making the playoffs was a real possibility.
“We were really making a push for the playoffs,” said Alex von Keudell, the director of media relations and broadcasting. “We had a feeling like we were going to make it. Things were looking good for us. Then things came to an abrupt halt — and that’s unfortunate.”
And that halt came on March 15th when the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to cancel the remainder of the season due to the threat of the coronavirus.
Coach Michel says some of the players refuse to go out on those terms.
“That was the general consensus. Everyone was upset,” Michel said. “Guys who thought about retiring after this season may be second-guessing that just because of the way things ended. You don’t want to go out that way, so I think everybody’s got the fire in their eyes a bit.”
The good news is that Mayhem owners Bob and Diane Kerzner inked a five-year extension in January to keep the squad in Macon. So now, the fans have something to look forward to.
“Things are looking up on the hockey side, the business side, and everything. So appreciate the support, and I just want them to know we’re working hard to make them proud,” said Michel.