Update on College Hockey Return to Play

College Hockey, in some cases, is gearing up to return to play in about a month, with the Big Ten kicking things off on Nov. 13 and other leagues could soon join the Big Ten with a return around that date. The Big Ten will also schedule Arizona State, but those will be non-conference games.

The NCHC will reportedly bubble teams in Omaha or Grand Forks, as we wrote yesterday.

Hockey East is in the midst of finalizing its details. It’s believed that some of those programs will begin play in November, but some of the programs might not begin play until January. There’s talk of some Hockey East teams playing each other in November and December, but those games will be non-conference games with the league schedule officially kicking off in January. Hockey East has not formally announced its plans as of this writing.

The ECAC is talking about splitting its teams into two divisions, however, there is still a big mystery surrounding the Ivy League schools, which won’t play until at least January and that could extend. One idea for the ECAC includes two divisions, broken up by geography, and the two division winners would face each other for the league championship.

Atlantic Hockey is looking to move forward with a schedule based around geographical pods. Mercyhurst, Niagara, Canisius, Robert Morris and RIT would be in the “western” pod while Army, Bentley, AIC, Holy Cross and Sacred Heart would be in the “eastern pod.” Air Force would not be in either pod, and every team would play Air Force twice. Atlantic Hockey is also rumored to be entering a scheduling agreement with the upstart Long Island program, where LIU would play every Atlantic Hockey team twice, but those games will not count in league standings.

The WCHA, meanwhile, is looking to move forward with a schedule that has a mix of conference and non-conference games.

There’s been no indication of what would happen at the Division III level. There’s also been no talk of what would happen at the national championship level. Some in college hockey believe that the season will end with conference champions, while others believe that the NCAA will find a way to put together some form of NCAA tournament.