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Big Ten Announces Start Date, Schedule for 2020-2021 Season; Scheduling Agreement with Arizona State

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Social distancing before it was cool
Nathan Wells

The Big Ten Hockey Conference became the first conference to announce a potential start to the 2020-2021 season that has been postponed due to Covid-19.

The Big Ten announced on Tuesday that play could begin “as early as” November 13. Each team will play a 24-game conference schedule—four games against of the league’s other teams—as well as four home non-conference games against Arizona State as part of a scheduling agreement with the Sun Devils, for a 28-game schedule.

The conference tournament format will return to their original single-weekend format played at one venue with all seven league members participating. Arizona State will not participate in the Big Ten conference tournament.

The Big Ten will use the same medical protocols for hockey that were developed when the conference announced a return to playing football, which includes daily rapid antigen testing and enhanced cardiac screening.

The scheduling agreement with Arizona State provides a nice lifeline to the Sun Devils, who were at risk of being left without anyone to play with teams forced into more insular, conference-only schedules. They’ll play all 24 of their games on the road, but at least will be able to have some sort of season.