Michigan Wolverines withdraw from NCAA men's hockey tournament due to COVID-19 protocols

A third team has had to bow out of the NCAA men's hockey tournament due to COVID-19 protocols.

On Friday, it was announced that the Michigan Wolverines, a No. 2 seed in the tournament, would no longer be able to compete because of positive COVID-19 tests.

Michigan's previously scheduled game against Minnesota Duluth will be considered a no-contest. Minnesota Duluth, which has won the past two national championships, will advance to the next round, where it will play the winner of North Dakota and American International.

The news comes a day after Notre Dame was knocked out of the tournament due to multiple positive COVID-19 tests. St. Lawrence University withdrew earlier this week after coach Brent Brekke tested positive for COVID-19.

The Michigan hockey team, including players and staff, had been in daily testing protocol since the end of the Big Ten tournament.

The Wolverines were preparing for Friday's game when the NCAA notified them of the positive COVID tests and the decision that they would not be allowed to participate in the tournament.

"I'm devastated for these players. These student-athletes have done a wonderful job all year of making sacrifices to get to this point of the year," Michigan coach Mel Pearson said in a statement. "It's unfortunate. I don't completely understand the final decision but I have to respect it.

"They've given so much and to get this opportunity taken away from them, it's hard to swallow. I know it's just a game, but it's extremely important to these young men. It's two years in a row now we've been denied an opportunity to compete in the national championship. It hasn't quite sunk in yet."

Pearson said he wished the remaining teams "good health, good luck and stay safe."

"Lastly," he said, "I want to make sure to thank the Michigan Hockey supporters. I've been blown away by the number of people who care deeply about and support this program. It truly means a lot to me and to our players. We'll be back. Michigan Hockey will be back. Stronger and ready to go next year."