The University of Maine men’s hockey team has been training for a month, but is off this week.
Coach Red Gendron’s Black Bears hopes to continue the momentum from last season, which was canceled due to the coronavirus just before UMaine hosted a scheduled Hockey East quarter-final against the University of Connecticut at Alfond Arena in Orono.
Last week was the first time that UMaine held a normal training session in which all players took part. They adhered to social distance protocols.
Previously they were divided into smaller pods of players.
The Black Bears have had eight-hour practice weeks, including four hours on the ice and four hours off with involved coaches. From Monday they will be extended to 20 hours per week.
Hockey East has not yet announced a game schedule or schedule, and Gendron said he should make sure not to mentally exhaust his players by practicing for too many weeks before actually playing a game.
UMaine would probably not start playing games until the last part of November, if indoor intersquad competitions are allowed under the state community sports guidelines. Currently teams are only allowed to participate in practices or scrimmages among their own players.
Gendron said UMaine players have handled the COVID-19 restrictions exceptionally well.
They just want to play, he said.
Gendron added that he is inspired by the way college administrators have dealt with the challenges of the COVID-19 situation.
In other news from the college hockey world, Long Island University is set to debut this year as the 61st Division I program in the country. St. Thomas University in Minnesota will advance to Division I for the 2021-2022 season and become a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
This is the last season for the University of Alaska-Anchorage, which is losing its program due to budget cuts.
It’s great to see new shows, but it’s a shame Alaska-Anchorage is on the way, Gendron said. In general, hockey is extensive. Long Island and St. Thomas are coming and there may be more.
He is happy that the sport seems to be gaining momentum.
What’s important is that hockey is growing. It’s more popular now across the country, Gendron said. They are going to have a Frozen Four in Las Vegas.
The Big Ten has announced that their seven schools will play against each other four times on a 24-game conference schedule and that each of the Division I independent Arizona State will host four games. They could start playing as early as November 13.
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