NCHC leaning toward partial season bubble, with Grand Forks and Omaha favorites to host

According to the Grand Forks Herald, the NCHC is planning to start the 2020-21 in a hub (or “bubble”) and play approximately 10 games in a three-week span between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Grand Forks, N.D., and Omaha have emerged as the favorites to host the games, with a final decision expected to be made sometime in the next two weeks by vote of NCHC schools.

Games would be played on weekdays and weekends.

“It gives you an opportunity to control variables that aren’t controlled in a normal scheduled travel environment,” NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton told the Herald last month. “We know the success the NBA had, the NHL has had. If you’re able to control some variables, it does give you an opportunity.”

The hub games would also cut down on travel costs for each school.

Fenton also touched on how such a plan would be viable academically.

“We have to be cognizant that we have academic calendars,” Fenton said to the Herald. “Although classes, for the most part, are moving online, the academic calendar is vitally important when we talk about schedules and about grouping concepts.”

Most likely, fans would not be allowed to attend games in the hub, but games would all be broadcast on, and possibly on Midco Sports Network.

Games after Christmas, including locations, are still being finalized, but the Herald article says those games would be played at home sites.