Northeastern pauses winter sports, including men’s, women’s hockey, through Dec. 18 due to COVID

Due to a small cluster of recent COVID-19 cases that led to quarantining athletes on five varsity teams, Northeastern has canceled games and practices for all winter sports through Dec. 18.

Northeastern athletic director Jeff Konya said he is hopeful that the winter teams will resume practices in early December and launch abbreviated seasons after Dec. 18.

“When you’re making a decision of this magnitude, the No. 1 priority is the wellness and safety of the student-athletes,” Konya said in a news release. “Analyzing the facts as we know them right now, this decision gives us our best chance of conducting intercollegiate athletics in an appropriate way in mid-December.”

The postponements involve women’s and men’s hockey teams.

Konya said he does not expect the cancellations to affect the NCAA tournament hopes of the affected teams.

“It should not impact us because our pathway to those postseason tournaments is going to be dependent on how we do in conference play,” Konya said.

Konya said that “small outbreaks” of COVID-19 cases had been discovered on Northeastern teams in women’s basketball and (women’s) hockey, and men’s and women’s track and field.

The opening games for the men’s hockey team on Friday and Saturday against UMass Lowell have been postponed. No member of the hockey programs have tested positive for COVID-19, Konya said.

The Ivy League announced Nov. 12 the cancellation of its winter sports program, leading days later to the cancellation of the 2021 Beanpot men’s hockey tournament, which Northeastern had won for the past three seasons.