To the shock of absolutely nobody, the NCAA Hockey season is officially postponed due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement released by the Hockey Commissioners’ Association, made up of the commissioners of every hockey conference, both men’s and women’s, each of the 11 conferences had been working closely together to come to a decision on how to move forward with the 2020-2021 season. As a result of the collaboration, each conference will make its own decisions on how to start competition this Fall or Winter, further indicating that there will likely be no non-conference play. Denver’s conference, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), announced in a follow-up statement, that it is currently planning to start play on or after November 20.
Statement from the Hockey Commissioners’ Association on the upcoming @NCAAIceHockey season…
— The NCHC (@TheNCHC) September 10, 2020
While this likely means that there will be no nonconference play this season – Denver was scheduled to play Arizona State, Air Force, Boston College, Providence, and Alaska Anchorage – the good news is that the college hockey conferences fully plan to have some semblance of a season. For the NCHC, starting in mid-November would essentially give the conference the ability to play a normal conference schedule as conference play generally starts around that time in a normal year.
“The health and safety of all involved across the campus communities, particularly our student-athletes, is the top priority,” said NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton in the NCHC’s statement. “We fully expect NCHC hockey to be back this season. As COVID-19 continues to have an impact on higher education, we have an obligation to host athletic competitions in a safe and responsible manner. We are committed to doing everything we conceivably can to provide competitive experiences that our student-athletes deserve. This delay affords us valuable time to continue formulating plans to start the season successfully.”
While the schedule has been scrapped, the NCHC is still working through a number of different schedule scenarios with a variety of contemplated start dates. As far as returning to practice, each program will have to navigate that according to NCAA rules and in conjunction with state and local regulations.
Though it has not yet been explicitly stated, when the NCHC does resume play, it will likely do so without fans in attendance, though that could change if conditions dramatically improve over the next two months.
For now, at least, mark your calendars for November 20. The puck will eventually drop and even though that date isn’t quite etched in stone, there is something to look forward to for now at least.
Be sure to check back on LetsGoDU.com for any further news regarding the college hockey season and NCAA season in general as it breaks. We will continue to bring you the most up-to-date information as we can.