We are supposed to be in Detroit preparing for Denver’s matchup with Worcester Regional champion (probably North Dakota) right now. We were supposed to fly out yesterday morning, bring you all the pre-Frozen Four content that you’ve grown accustomed to over the past five years – three Frozen Fours in that span make for a pretty great habit. Instead, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season was canceled last month and we haven’t had any hockey – college or professional – since. We didn’t get conference tournaments, we didn’t get NCAA Regionals, and now, probably the most painful of all, there is no Frozen Four.
Yesterday though, NCHC fans were treated to temporary relief from all the doom and gloom that comes with being forced to stay home due to a pandemic when the sport’s westernmost conference released its 2020-2021 schedule. Denver, to its credit, had already released the nonconference portion of its schedule weeks ago so yesterday’s announcement from the conference served to finalize the Pioneers’ full schedule for next year:
(the BC and Providence games are the same weekend and DU plays each of them once in a single trip to the Boston metro area) https://t.co/bvBJdcI8y3
— LetsGoDU (@LetsGoDU) April 8, 2020
The Pioneers will play just one of their first eight games of the year – not counting the exhibition vs. British Columbia – at Magness Arena as they travel to Madison, WI, the Boston metro area, Colorado Springs, and Kalamazoo, MI over the course of the first month of the season.
DU will rekindle two old WCHA rivalries as they travel to play Wisconsin to open the season and host Alaska Anchorage. This will be the second time in the last three years that Denver has traveled to Madison to take on the Badgers while this is the first time the Pioneers play the Seawolves since they fell 3-2 in overtime in Anchorage in October 2013.
Great news for rivalries, though. Home games vs North Dakota and all four CC games will take place while school is still in session for DU. It has been quite some time since that has happened.
— LetsGoDU (@LetsGoDU) April 8, 2020
Not only will all of the Gold Pan matchups finally take place while school is in session, the first two games between DU and CC will take place over the course of two consecutive weekends in February with the Pios and new-look Tigers playing just once each weekend. Then, as is tradition since the 2018-2019 season, DU and CC will close out the regular season against each other.
Returning to the schedule after a one-year hiatus is local rival and fan-favorite nonconference opponent Air Force for a home-and-home weekend in October. Saturday’s matchup will also serve as the flagship event for Homecoming Weekend.
And finally, Arizona State returns to the schedule as the Pios and Sun Devils will square off at the beginning of December as DU will attempt to erase the memory of that 0-1-1 weekend four months ago. They should have a pretty good chance at doing so since both games will be played in a real arena at Magness as opposed to the glorified phone booth ASU Hockey calls home (as an aside, it appears ASU may have finally broken ground on a new arena. There has been no official announcement yet but we’re keeping an eye on that situation).
It’s far too soon to tell, but given that there was no Frozen Four this year, there is a very good chance LetsGoDU may take this show on the road for a non-Colorado road trip. We’re currently deciding whether to go to Madison for the Wisconsin series or back to Boston for the BC/PC weekend.
Before you comment on the schedule, believe me when I tell you everyone understands the reality that the pandemic may still be wreaking havoc on collegiate athletics later this Fall. No one needs yet another rude reminder. There is no reason to police fans who are getting excited about this schedule announcement. COVID-19 has already forced the cancellation of the Frozen Four – which would have started today – and we don’t need any more negative energy in the world right now.
Let’s keep the positive vibes going and allow some excitement for a new season to flow!