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Big Ten sets Nov. 13 start date for men's hockey season

The Detroit News

Big Ten hockey will play a 24-game conference schedule and four games per school against Arizona State hosted at Big Ten universities beginning as early as Nov. 13.

The abbreviated 2020-21 schedule, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will conclude March 18-20, 2021, with the Big Ten men’s ice hockey tournament, the conference announced Tuesday.

Schedules for Big Ten hockey teams, including Michigan and Michigan State, will be announced at a later date.

“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,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said Tuesday in a statement. “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."

There will be a one-weekend, single-elimination format for the tournament similar to that 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. There will be six games, with 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 former Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson, now special advisor to the commissioner for 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 Sept. 16, 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.

The full 2020-21 Big Ten hockey schedule, including times and television designations, as well as further details regarding the 2021 Big Ten Hockey Tournament will be announced at a later date.