Hockey East held a media conference call this morning with commissioner Steve Metcalf to kickoff the 2020-21 season, which will begin on Nov. 20. Below are some notes from that call.
- HE commissioner Steve Metcalf said that he thought it was unlikely that there would be a Beanpot tournament this season. HE doesn’t coordinate that tournament (the schools do) but none of the three HE schools have been preparing for a Beanpot, and it’s not built into the schedules.
- As for the NCAA Tournament, I’m still skeptical but Metcalf said he would be “surprised” if the NCAA did not hold an NCAA Tournament this spring. He noted that conversations were still ongoing as to how the NCAA would select teams, but he doesn’t think that the tournament would be scrapped altogether. The minimum number of games for teams to be eligible this season is 13.
- HE linked up the men’s and women’s schedules so that if there are COVID outbreaks, it’s being limited to two campuses at a time. For example, if Merrimack and BC are playing on the men’s side in a weekend, then BC and Merrimack would play on the women’s side during the same weekend.
- Teams have two options when it comes to testing protocols. They can use the less-evasive antigen test, but programs would be required to do those tests daily. If programs choose the more evasive PCR tests, then they would be required three times per week.
- The schedule was put together in an effort to limit as much travel as possible. Ge spoke to commissioners from other conferences and said that a common theme was that geography was a hurdle for them. Hockey East was lucky in that regard.
- He’s unsure what the postseason will look like. He noted that he has spoken to the TD Garden about hosting the semifinals and finals but they were in a holding pattern.
- Metcalf confirmed that there have been Hockey East teams, during the preseason, who have had positive tests. Metcalf said that “players and staff” have tested positive across the league and there’s “no reason to think those situations aren’t going to arise in the future as we go forward,” but he said he believed the protocols the league has in place gives them the best chance possible to complete the season.
- Metcalf said if a player or staff member tests positive, they have to quarantine for 10 days and would be unavailable for that period of time. Contact tracing would take place and further testing would establish whether or not the entire program needed to shut down.
- The league was very excited about the NESN schedule and also excited about the free access to streamed games through CBS/Viacom.