UMD Hockey Coaches Talk Delayed Start to the Season

Both coaches also agreed that the joint statement from the 11 Division I hockey conferences was important to instill confidence that some form of hockey will happen this season.

DULUTH, Minn. – Thursday, we found out that the start of the season for the UMD men’s and women’s hockey teams will be delayed. We caught up with both head coaches as they weighed in on the decision.

“I think we all knew a delay was inevitable. Obviously we’re still hoping because things change daily, weekly and monthly it seems. But we felt it was important to get that out there as a college hockey body,” men’s hockey head coach Scott Sandelin said.

“I think it’s just helpful from a planning perspective as coaches and players and even families, and everybody else behind the scenes that has to make arrangements for travel and different things. It’s nice to have something in mind and to work towards that, whatever it will be,” said women’s hockey head coach Maura Crowell.

Both coaches also agreed that the joint statement from the 11 Division I hockey conferences was important to instill confidence that some form of hockey will happen this season.

“We’re all trying to navigate through this and find the best and safest way to get back to playing. And what that looks like, we don’t know. But I don’t think that’s the most important thing. To do it in the safest possible way is what we’re dealing with and what we’ve been talking about,” Sandelin said.

“I think there’s a lot of optimism right now about the possibility of having a season and that hasn’t always been the case. It just kind of gives you a little clarity now and we can move on and shoot for the new timeline,” said Crowell.

Coach Sandelin says the NCHC’s decision to possibly start “on or after November 20th” could be beneficial to some players who didn’t get as much access to ice time as others during the summer.

“Even if we would’ve started in October, I think our fall was going to look a little bit different as far as what we were planning as far as getting the guys back here and seeing where we’re at, whether it was testing or no testing, workouts and things like that,” said Sandelin.

Coach Crowell added that communication between the coaching staff and players will be more important than ever as the bulldogs await more information from the WCHA, who will announce their projected start date later this fall.

“Just keeping them in the loop, they’ve appreciated that. I know I’ve heard that from them. I think it’s been hard as leaders not to always have the answers and to openly say that. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but here’s what we’re thinking and here’s what we’re hearing,” Crowell said.

And the hope is that COVID-19 cases don’t spike as the UMD campus re-opens.

“That’s a priority right now and hopefully, cross our fingers, those couple weeks here go well and we get going because I think that’s certainly a concern when you look at what’s gone on across the country,” said Sandelin.

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