WCHA announces 18-game conference schedule for shortened 2020-21 season

Bemidji State kicks off the WCHA regular season Jan. 1-2 against Alaska Anchorage (photo: BSU Photo Services).

The WCHA has finalized an 18-game league schedule for the abbreviated 2020-21 men’s hockey season.

Each WCHA team will play a single series against the other nine league schools with all but three of the games slated to be played in January and February 2021.

Additionally, league teams will play a total of 38 non-league games beginning Nov. 20. Due to limited opportunities for contests against non-league opponents this season, 30 of those games will pit WCHA teams against each other in games that will not count in the league standings.

While every WCHA team will face at least one other league opponent in non-league competition, Alabama Huntsville and Bowling Green are the only WCHA teams scheduled to face teams from outside the league. The Chargers will visit Robert Morris on Nov. 20-21, the opening weekend of the regular season, while Bowling Green will travel to Robert Morris on Nov. 24 before a home-and-home series with Mercyhurst, Nov. 27 (away) and Nov. 29 (home).

BGSU will visit Quinnipiac Dec. 18-19 and host Robert Morris on Dec. 29 to conclude the non-league season for the WCHA. The Falcons are also slated to play a road exhibition game against USA Hockey’s NTDP on Nov. 7.

In addition to state and local health and safety guidelines in force at each WCHA campus, the 2020-21 schedule will play out under the WCHA’s return to competition protocols. Those protocols will include COVID-19 testing for players, coaches, staff and game officials as well as social distancing requirements at all WCHA rinks.

The chase for the MacNaughton Cup will begin on Dec. 2 when Northern Michigan visits Lake Superior State for a single league game. Minnesota State will visit Alaska Anchorage Dec. 18-19 for the only other WCHA league games currently scheduled to be played prior to the end of the calendar year.

League play will begin the weekend of Jan. 1-2 with five league series – Alabama Huntsville at Michigan Tech, Alaska Anchorage at Bemidji State, Alaska at Lake Superior State, Bowling Green at Ferris State, and Minnesota State at Northern Michigan.

The regular season will conclude Feb. 24-27 with each school playing a home-and-home series with its designated travel partner- Alabama Huntsville vs. Bowling Green, Alaska vs. Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State vs. Minnesota State Ferris State vs. Lake Superior State and Michigan Tech vs. Northern Michigan.

The weekend of March 5-6 has been designated as a bye weekend for all 10 schools and will be used as a makeup weekend should any league series or single games be postponed.

The league series breakdown for each team will be four home, four road and one home-and-home for a total of nine home and nine road contests. All game dates are subject to change.

The format for the 2021 WCHA postseason tournament is will be determined in the coming weeks. The postseason will play out over the weekends of March 12-13 and March 19-20, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA tournament.