The Big Ten became the first college hockey conference to officially announce details regarding its 2020-21 season.
The conference said on Tuesday that the season will start as soon as November 13, 2020, and will feature 24-game conference schedules, plus an additional four games per school against Arizona State University hosted at Big Ten venues. The 2020-21 schedule will conclude March 18-20, 2021, with the Big Ten Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament.
“The 2020-21 hockey season builds on the rich traditions of Big Ten Hockey and brings new competitive opportunities to the Conference with the Arizona State University scheduling agreement,” said Commissioner Kevin Warren. “As our teams return to competition, we will continue to keep the health and safety of our student-athletes at the forefront of our decisions.”
The 2021 Big Ten Hockey Tournament will return to the one-weekend, single-elimination format used during the first four years of Big Ten hockey and will feature all seven conference teams – Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. The tournament will be held March 18-20 and will consist of six games (three games on Thursday; two games on Friday; and the championship game on Saturday).
“The 2020-21 schedule and the modified Big Ten Tournament format have been structured in a way that maximizes flexibility for the season,” said Red Berenson, Special Advisor to the Commissioner, Hockey Operations. “The opportunity to return to competition in mid-November and the scheduling agreement with Arizona State is an exciting time for Big Ten Hockey.”
Big Ten hockey teams will follow the same medical protocols that were developed by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force and announced on Sept. 16, 2020, including daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice/competition. Arizona State has agreed to adhere to the same testing protocols as the Big Ten Conference.