HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Western Collegiate Hockey Association will delay the start of its 2020-21 season, WCHA Men's League Commissioner Bill Robertson announced Thursday (Sept. 10).
"We continue to engage in thorough evaluation and discussion of various options for safely opening the 2020-21 season, both nationally and within the WCHA, as the health and safety of everyone associated with our league is our top priority," Robertson said. "There was a strong desire to open the season as scheduled on October 3, but that is not possible given the realities we are facing. While we are still finalizing plans for our season at this point, we owe it to our student-athletes, coaches, officials, and great fans to acknowledge the fact we will not begin play on time."
With 10 teams in five states, WCHA member institutions are currently operating under multiple state, local, university system, institutional, and NCAA COVID-19 mandates. Delaying the start of the season will provide league and member administrators the opportunity to continue detailed discussions regarding the implementation of a return to play plan that addresses the diverse guidelines all WCHA institutions must adhere to and recognizes the rapidly-evolving medical and safety environments that exist today.
"We support today's difficult decision made by the leaders of the WCHA," Michigan Tech Athletic Director Suzanne Sanregret said. "We'll continue to work with our WCHA colleagues to determine a start date and our non-conference opponents on how to move forward with those important matchups. Our top priority is to support our student-athletes in every possible way to prepare them for the 100th season of Michigan Tech hockey and beyond.
"As a university, we are proud to have some of the best testing procedures in the country that allow us to continue with skill instruction, strength and conditioning, and other developmental opportunities. We thank our fans, alumni, and supporters for their understanding and patience as we navigate through these difficult times."
Michigan Tech hockey season ticket holders will have their seats held for when fans return to the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
The new 2020-21 WCHA schedule and details regarding non-league play and the postseason tournament will be announced later this fall.