COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After thorough discussion and thoughtful planning over the past few months, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has announced a delay to the start of the 2020-21 hockey season. The NCHC Board of Directors unanimously approved this action on September 8.
As of today (Sept. 10), the conference anticipates that competition for NCHC programs will commence on or after November 20. Conference leadership has been working closely with all Division I college hockey conferences to plan for a safe and responsible return to competition.
“The health and safety of all involved across the campus communities, particularly our student-athletes, is the top priority,” said NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton. “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.”
As part of the conference efforts to begin the 2020-21 season, campus constituency groups have been engaged numerous times to gather feedback. Some of those groups include Student-Athlete leaders, Presidents/Chancellors, Athletic Directors, Faculty Athletics Representatives, Head Coaches, and Medical Professionals. Additionally, the conference has constructed a Health & Safety Competitions Committee, made up of sports medicine professionals and athletic administrators representing all eight member institutions. The committee has met numerous times to develop consistent standards and protocol for hosting safe competitions. Beyond internal conference or institutional protocols, member institutions will also refer and adhere to current and future NCAA Resocialization Collegiate Sport Standards for Practice and Competition.
Numerous scheduling models with a variety of start dates are being considered. The specific details regarding the new schedule, start date, number of games, matchups, and other details will be released later. Teams will be able to commence in-season countable athletically related activities (e.g. in-season practice) with their student-athletes based on existing NCAA rules and in conjunction with local, state, and institutional restrictions and guidelines for various types of activity.
All plans and schedules may be adjusted as more information becomes available, with complete team schedules to be released at a later date.