The ECAC is planning to split the league into two division, with no crossover games until the ECAC Championship, it was revealed in a memo obtained by CHN.
The teams will be split into the New York (Clarkson, Colgate, Cornell, RPI, St. Lawrence, Union) and New England (Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Quinnipiac, Yale) Divisions. The season will consist of a 20-game schedule, with each team playing other division opponents four times each, with games starting Jan. 2.
The continuing coronavirus pandemic has forced these alterations. College hockey has been shut down since last March, while conference tournaments were taking place. This fall, schools around the country have handled the pandemic differently. The Ivy League announced during the summer that no teams would play until Jan. 1, though the teams are hoping they can begin practice in late December.
The split divisions make travel easier, especially because many schools may still have travel restrictions for their athletic teams. For example, they may not allow overnight trips. ECAC games may be played home-and-home with one team in the pair coming and going home the same day each night.
It’s still possible other teams in the ECAC will have non-league games prior to the league schedules starting, but nothing has been officially sccheduled at this time.
The winners of each division will be declared co-Regular Season champs. There will then be an ECAC Tournament, with the top two teams in each division getting byes in the first round. After the semifinals, the winners of those games will meet in a New York vs. New England championship game.
All playoff series will be one game.
All of this is still subject to change, of course, as all six conference continue to make ad hoc plans for the upcoming season.
It was earlier announced by the Hockey Commissioners Association that no one would begin playing, nationally, until at least Nov. 20. Most non-Ivy teams have been practicing, although, for example, Wisconsin had to recently shut things down for two weeks while its campus went through a flareup of coronavirus cases.