A taxi squad is a group of players that travel and practice with an NHL team. Taxi squads were created in the NHL in response to the Covid-19 pandemic so teams had extra players around to move onto the active roster in case of illness or injury.
The Covid-19 pandemic was devastating to the health of millions of people around the world. In addition to that, it had a profound impact on many industries, like sports.
One response that the NHL had to the pandemic in order to help prevent postponements and cancellations was to create taxi squads. This article is going to go over what a taxi squad is, how they work, and so much more.
- A taxi squad is a group of players that practice and travel with an NHL team. They act as emergency call-ups if the team needs it.
- Taxi squads have existed in sports circles for years, but were only adopted in the NHL in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in hopes of reducing game postponements and cancellations.
- Players on taxi squads are considered in the AHL (American Hockey League) for cap and waiver purposes, and are not classified as NHL players.
What is a Taxi Squad?
A taxi squad is essentially a group of players that practice and travel with NHL teams. For the NHL, taxi squads began in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. With many players contracting the virus, teams were decimated and many didn’t have enough players to play games.
In an effort to reduce game cancellations and delays, the NHL allowed each team to travel with a few players who could fill in on the active roster if need be. The squad made it much easier to quickly call players up to the roster in emergency situations like someone getting sick.
The taxi squad is made up of a maximum of six players, but the rules on the minimum change with each iteration. The initial taxi squad rules that were used when the pandemic began required that all teams have at least four players on their taxi squad.
But when the use of taxi squads was brought back in the 2021-22 season, there was no minimum requirement and teams could choose not to have a taxi squad at all.
Players can only stay on the taxi squad for 20 days, so teams needed to be careful when they added players. There were also regulations in place to ensure no NHL team would need to play a game with less than two goalies available.
While taxi squads in the NHL only began a few years ago, the actual history of the taxi squad in sports dates back much longer than that. The term was actually created back in the 1940s by Cleveland Browns NFL coach Paul Brown.
He came up with the idea to keep players with a lot of potential around, even though they weren’t quite good enough to make the roster at the time.
The reason it was originally called “taxi squad” was because the owner of the Browns also owned a taxi company, and had these players on the payroll of his taxi company instead of paying them through the football team.
Are Players on the Taxi Squad in the NHL?
While the players in the taxi squad can play in the NHL if their team needs, they are still classified as AHL players. They are not only in the minors for cap purposes, but also for waivers and the various other rules.
If a player is needed in a game, they will be called up to the active NHL roster and will thus no longer be on the taxi squad at that time. It is a little confusing, but think of it similar to how practice squads work in other sports like the NFL.
I hope that this guide has helped you learn more about taxi squads in the NHL. They are a great way to reduce the chances of game postponements and help provide relief for teams when they are hit by the illness or injury bug.
Is there anything else about taxi squads in the NHL that you feel I should have mentioned in this guide? If so, I’d love to hear from you in a comment.About Kale