Men’s Division I hockey making possible plans for upcoming 2020-21 season

NCAA considering all options for possible start dates


Connor Smith, Student Writer

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to plague the United States, Division I college hockey conferences are planning alternate schedules for the 2020-21 season.

“We remain optimistic the 2020-21 season can be played as scheduled. However, the conference office has been modeling and will continue to model multiple scenarios related to financial operations and scheduling for next academic year as alternative plans.” wrote NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton in an email sent to the USCHO.

“We will be prepared to adjust as necessary based on the information received from leadership at our institutions, along with federal and state health officials,” Fenton said.

The Hockey East conference said on July 30 that they do intend to have the 2020-21 season. They will focus mainly on conference games with as little amount of travel as possible. 

The University of Vermont’s athletic director, Jeff Schulman, told the Burlington Free Press that they expect the season to begin in November. “We are looking at a variety of different possible start dates mostly focused on the month of November with an emphasis on league play.” published an interview with WCHA commissioner Jennifer Flowers regarding the start time of the season. “conceded teams also are eyeing the possibility they’ll have to push season openers back to January.” She also mentioned that the Division II schools in the WCHA don’t have the same resources and equipment to keep up with the NCAA standards for practice and competition, which requires weekly testing.

On September 10, the NCHC anticipates that competition for NCHC programs will start on or after November 20. Many possible schedules and start dates have been created but haven’t come to a conclusion on which one yet. They also said that the specific details regarding the new schedule, start date, number of games, matchups, and other details will be released on a later date.

The HCA has concluded that there will be a 2020-21 Division I hockey season but aren’t too sure when it will start. 

“The eleven Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey conferences, represented by the Hockey Commissioners Association, are committed to providing memorable competitive experiences for our student-athletes during the upcoming season. The conferences have been working together on plans to return with a focus on the health and safety of everyone associated with our campus communities. Due to the impact that COVID-19 continues to have across the country and within higher education, the start of competition for the Division I college hockey season will be delayed. Each conference will announce details on game schedules, including the start dates, individually. We look forward to our players and fans enjoying the college hockey experience this season.”

The season will be shortened from 34 games to the NCAA minimum of 25 and even 25 games may be relaxed according to the NCAA.