Hockey is back.
The Big Ten announced on Tuesday afternoon that men’s ice hockey will return as early as Nov. 13 with a 24-game season against conference opponents and an additional four games vs. Arizona State. Hockey players and staff will be subject to the same testing protocols that Big Ten football will face.
The Big Ten season will conclude with the Big Ten Hockey Tournament, which is scheduled for March 18-20, 2021. The tournament will include all seven conference teams (Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.)
Traditionally, the hockey season would begin in late October, with the Big Ten Tournament concluding the season in early March.
“The 2020-21 hockey season builds on the 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. “... We will continue to keep the health and safety of our student-athletes at the forefront of our decisions.”
With hockey adopting the same testing protocols laid out by the Big Ten for football, hockey athletes and staff will be subject to daily testing, enhanced cardiac screening and distinct guidelines for what would cause a cancellation or postponement of games. Arizona State, who will also face the Big Ten, must also adhere to these testing guidelines as well.
In addition, the Big Ten Tournament will be a one-weekend, single-elimination tournament that will feature all seven Big Ten teams that will total up to six games played.
Michigan State hockey, after a strong start to last season, finished on a sour note, dropping out of first place in the conference at one point in the season to missing the NCAA Tournament entirely. The Spartans will look to get back on track as they return 16 veteran players, which includes seven seniors.
"We are very excited to have the opportunity to get on the ice and represent Michigan State once again,” MSU hockey Head Coach Danton Cole said. “It has been a test for everyone dealing with this and we are grateful that we can be a part of the next step in moving forward."
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