St Cloud, MN – The uncertainty of the St. Cloud State University Men’s Hockey schedule was lifted as the National Collegiate Hockey Conference released its revised composite schedule for the 2020-21 season on November 9th. As previously announced, the league schedule will begin on December 1 and the conference will place the entire first half of it’s schedule in a “Pod” at Baxter Arena in Omaha, NE during the month of December. The Huskies will be one of four teams competing on that opening day facing the Western Michigan Broncos at a time to be announced. Of interest is the Broncos were the team the Huskies were to face in the first round of the NCHC playoffs last March when the season was suspended.
“The ingenuity of our membership to think creatively about how to construct a schedule that focuses on the health and safety of people associated with our programs has been impressive,” NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton said. “The geography of the Conference makes it nearly impossible to truly regionalize the schedule, but through this unique approach, we were able to build something that provides deserving student-athletes the competitive experiences they’ve earned, while prioritizing their health and safety.” Omaha was chosen due it’s central location and the availability of prominent medical facilties.
According to the NCHC release, the NCHC season will be divided into two portions. The first portion will take place at Baxter Arena in Omaha, Neb., where all eight teams will compete in the ‘Pod’ from Dec. 1-20. The second portion of the campaign will consist of regular travel hosted on campus sites, beginning in January. Forty of the 104 games will take place in the Pod, while the remaining 64 games will occur in campus arenas. 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 clashes taking place in the Pod.
While competing in the “Pod” the Huskies will face “East” opponent Western Michigan twice and “West” opponents Colorado College, Denver University, Omaha and North Dakota twice. The league will then revert to a East/West schedule during their “Normal Travel” conference play. The Huskies will face Minnesota Duluth and Miami six times and Western Michigan four times. Of interest is that the Huskies will face Miami in two three game sets at home and on the road. They’ll face UMD in three “home and home” series”. They will not face any “West ” teams in regular conference play after January 1.
The Huskies first home game will be on New Years Day, Friday, January 1 vs the UMD Bulldogs. They travel to Duluth to conclude the two-game set the next day.
Game times for the “Pod” will be determined by the Conference and announced soon. Game times for the second portion of the season will be determined and released by the host institution.
At this time, no decisions regarding fans for any part of the season have been made. The collective membership and Douglas County (NE) Health Department will have the authority over whether fans will be allowed in the Pod. Institutions and the local county health authorities will determine whether fans will be allowed in member school venues during the second portion of the season. If allowed, each institution will work with those authorities to determine an appropriate capacity for games.