<
>

Start of NCAA men's, women's hockey seasons delayed

The 2020-21 NCAA Division I men's and women's hockey seasons will be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, a decision announced collectively by the Hockey Commissioners Association, which represents the 11 hockey conferences.

Both seasons typically begin the first week of October.

"The 11 Division I men's and women's ice hockey conferences, represented by the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA), are committed to providing memorable experiences for our student-athletes during the upcoming season," a joint release said. "The conferences have been working together on plans to return to play with a focus on the health and safety of everyone associated within our campus communities. Due to the impact 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 plans for the season individually."

Most conferences are still weighing options for a start date, but the National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced Thursday that it hopes to resume play on or after Nov. 20. The NCHC is home to the most recent men's hockey national champion, Minnesota Duluth, as well as perennial powers North Dakota and Denver.

Sources have indicated that Nov. 20 is the ballpark timeline for most conferences for a start date.

"The health and safety of all involved across the campus communities, particularly our student-athletes, is the top priority," NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton said in a statement. "We fully expect NCHC hockey to be back this season. This delay affords us valuable time to continue formulating plans to start the season successfully."

While the individual conferences continue to work on various scheduling models and methods to resume the season, the Ivy League canceled its fall 2020 season, which made an impact even though the league does not fully sponsor men's and women's hockey. Ivy League-affiliated schools, which play in the ECAC, are not expected to resume play until at least Jan. 1.