RIT announced on Monday that all winter sports at the school, including men’s and women’s ice hockey, will be cancelled for the 2020-2021 season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The decision comes on the heels of a decision by the Division III Liberty League, of which all sports at RIT except for men’s and women’s hockey are members, to cancel all winter sports.
Men’s hockey, which is a member of Division I Atlantic Hockey, and women’s hockey, which is a member of Division I College Hockey America, are both members of conferences that have not yet decided to cancel their season, but ultimately, it seems, the school found the position of it being too dangerous for most sports to continue playing, but acceptable for other sports, to be untenable.
Four other Division hockey schools that sponsor both men’s and women’s ice hockey—Clarkson, RPI, St. Lawrence, and Union—are also members of the Liberty League for all sports besides hockey, but to this point have decided to allow hockey season to continue based their respective conference guidelines.
RIT senior forward Jake Hamacher released a statement on Monday on behalf of the men’s team questioning the decision to cancel the season:
New York State has reported 149 deaths from coronavirus in the past seven days, more than twice what it was in the seven days prior.
The absence of RIT will leave some relatively large holes in schedules for members of Atlantic Hockey. The league had opted for a more insular schedule to reduce travel, leaving the four other teams in RIT’s pod without five of their scheduled 24 games.
Meanwhile, College Hockey America has not yet officially schedule plans for the 2020-2021 season.