The Big Ten announced Tuesday that the 2020-21 hockey season will begin as soon as Nov. 13, 2020, and will feature 24-game conference schedules, plus an additional four games per school against Arizona State hosted at Big Ten venues.
The 2020-21 schedule will conclude March 18-20, 2021, with the Big Ten tournament.
“The 2020-21 hockey season builds on the rich traditions of Big Ten hockey and brings new competitive opportunities to the conference with the Arizona State University scheduling agreement,” said Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren in a statement. “As our teams return to competition, we will continue to keep the health and safety of our student-athletes at the forefront of our decisions.”
The 2021 Big Ten tournament will return to the one-weekend, single-elimination format used during the first four years of the conference and will feature all seven conference teams – Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. The tournament will be held March 18-20 and will consist of six games (three games on Thursday; two games on Friday; and the championship game on Saturday).
Arizona State will not be eligible for the conference tournament.
“The 2020-21 schedule and the modified Big Ten tournament format have been structured in a way that maximizes flexibility for the season,” said Red Berenson, special advisor to the commissioner, hockey operations. “The opportunity to return to competition in mid-November and the scheduling agreement with Arizona State is an exciting time for Big Ten hockey.”
Big Ten hockey teams will follow the same medical protocols that were developed by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force and announced on Sept. 16, 2020, including daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice/competition. Arizona State has agreed to adhere to the same testing protocols as the conference.
“We are obviously thrilled to partner with the Big Ten on this scheduling arrangement coming out of such a difficult and challenging last six months,” said Sun Devils coach Greg Powers. “We are looking forward to the challenge presented in front of us and making all Sun Devils proud. We can’t thank the Big Ten’s coaches and administrators enough for including us as an independent so our student-athletes can share a meaningful season with theirs.”
The full 2020-21 Big Ten schedule, including times and television designations, as well as further details regarding the 2021 Big Ten tournament, will be announced at a later date.