COLORADO SPRINGS - — On Friday, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) finalized its plans for the 2020-21 college hockey season.
The 26-game conference schedule and two-part format will start on Dec 1st and will utilize a centralized location (“Pod”) for all NCHC games to start the season.
This year NCHC teams have been divided into two divisions based on geography for 2020-21 scheduling purposes: East and West.
The East Division consists of Miami, Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan.
The West Division consists of Colorado College, Denver, North Dakota and Omaha.
Teams will play each of their divisional opponents six times (18 games total) and each cross-division opponent twice (8 games total), with all cross-division games taking place in the Pod to alleviate travel due to COVID-19 concerns.
All 'Pod' games will be played at the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Baxter Arena.
Competition in the Pod will include 10 games per team (40 games total) and run through the first three weeks of December, with games held throughout each week.
In addition to the cross-division games at Baxter Arena, each team will also play two games against one divisional foe in the Pod.
The second portion of the season will then take place January through March, with all divisional foes playing each other at home and on the road like a normal weekend series.
“Throughout the past eight months we have learned to adjust and think creatively about how we live our personal and professional lives,” NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton said. “I’m proud of our membership for their entrepreneurial spirit to build a concept grounded in health and safety that we believe gives a group of deserving student-athletes the best opportunity to conduct a successful season.”
A complete conference schedules, including match-ups, game dates and bye weekends for each team, along with the NCHC’s Return to Play protocol and overall COVID-19 testing plans, will be released in the coming weeks.
Currently, no changes are planned for the 2021 NCHC Tournament in March.