Courtesy: WCHA

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.(Press Release/WBUP) – The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, in which the Northern Michigan University hockey program is a member, will delay the start of its 2020-21 season as announced by League Commissioner Bill Roberston Thursday.

“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.”

The delay affects the start of the 2020-21 season, including the Wildcats’ non-conference series against Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth, Colgate and North Dakota.

Members of the NMU hockey team will continue to follow the WCHA Return to Play Plan and will monitor developments surrounding the ongoing pandemic through state and local health officials, the WHO, the CDC, and other government entities. NMU testing procedures remain in place.

“The health and safety of student-athletes is our top priority,” NMU President Fritz Erickson said. “We continue to track medical recommendations and rely on health care experts to assist us.”

Though intercollegiate competition is suspended, modified fall practices and workouts continue pursuant to NCAA and WCHA rules and guidelines as well as state, local and university safety protocols.

“We are focused on working closely with peer institutions to develop safe return to competition guidelines.” NMU Director of Athletics and Recreation Sport Forrest Karr said. “Our hockey team is in the process of resocialization and acclimatization, including limited small group skill development activities and is preparing for when competition can safely get started.”

The Hockey Commissioners Association issued the following statement regarding the decision to delay the start to the 2020-21 season.

Student-athletes will be given the option to opt out of playing this year and will be allowed to keep any financial aid they receive.

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