The WCHA women’s conference made a schedule announcement on Friday, and taking a cue from the Big Ten, only announced the first portion of their schedule, leaving any games played after January 1st to be scheduled at a later date.
Here is the league’s composite schedule.
Teams will play eight games starting November 20th running through December 19th before breaking for the holiday season. They intend to restart after January 1st with those games announced at a later date.
The conference schools are roughly broken down into pods, with the league’s three Big Ten members—Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio State—forming one, while Division II schools Minnesota State, St. Cloud State, and Bemidji State forming another, with D-II Minnesota Duluth as an outlier.
This move likely minimizes some issues with a difference in testing protocols between the Big Ten, which is both stringent and expensive, and the smaller D-II schools which likely can’t afford to be as aggressive with rapid testing. The league’s press release said they are still finalizing their Return to Play protocols.
The schedule also does an excellent job of minimizing travel for the smaller schools in a financially difficult year. The league’s longest trip to Columbus will only be made by the league’s two biggest schools, Minnesota and Wisconsin, in the first half of the season, while Minnesota Duluth’s trip to Wisconsin is the only instance of a D-II school having to leave the state.
It’s a good start for the league. There may be more challenges in scheduling the rest of the season, which is likely why it wasn’t announced today, but it is promising that teams will hopefully be able to at least some games in before 2021.