When Holy Cross’s men’s hockey team hosts Long Island University in the 2020-21 Thursday night season opener, it will be the first game to be played at the Hart Center since March 9.
It’s been more than eight months.
We will not just represent our team, said senior captain Logan Ferguson. Represent our entire school and it is definitely something special. We are so grateful and can’t wait to get started.
The women’s HC hockey team starts its season at home against Maine on Friday.
There is so much excitement and so much energy, said junior Emma Lange. Were all ready.
While learning at Holy Cross was completely remote during the fall semester, the HC hockey and basketball teams returned to campus in August, gradually ramping up their training and practice as they battled the challenges of COVID-19, taking on kept the protocols, including regular tests and mandatory masks, wondering if they would in fact play their seasons.
Starting with our coaching staff and captains, we remained quite optimistic, freshman Jake Higgins said. If we keep working, staying safe and healthy, we’ll have a season. That was our mindset from the start. The college has done a great job of making this possible.
The HC men’s conference, Atlantic Hockey, announced its schedule in October. Hockey East, of which the Holy Cross women’s team is a part, announced the program last Wednesday.
Both leagues will follow return-to-play protocols and there will be plenty of policies on Thursday night, including symptom checks, scheduled arrival times and entrances for teams, staff and officials, and adhering to the Holy Cross universal mask policy.
Nick Smith, Holy Cross senior associate athletics director / external operations and member of the Atlantic Hockeys return committee, said on Tuesday that no decision has been made yet whether players should wear face coverings during the game.
Holy Cross practices in masks.
During the season, Holy Cross players are tested three times a week. Previously they were tested twice a week.
In the ever-evolving world of COVID-19, all of the dates and opponents on both teams’ schedules are subject to change, and the men’s 24-game slate, which includes 22 Atlantic Hockey games, has already changed.
The Crusaders were scheduled to open at Army on Friday and host the Black Knights on Sunday, but those games were delayed when the Army halted hockey operations due to a small number of COVID-19 cases and subsequent contact tracking.
Instead, HCs games against LIU, originally scheduled for January 8-9, will be played this week. In addition to Thursday’s game, the Crusaders will face LIU, which is in the first Division 1 season and teamed up with Atlantic Hockey for this year’s schedule at the Hart Center on Sunday.
Adaptability is probably the number 1 most important thing, Ferguson said. Seeing so much happening everywhere, we’ve learned to focus on what we can control, and what we can control is how we follow protocols and how we stay safe.
LIU was originally scheduled to open against Army last weekend, but that game was also postponed due to the Black Knights COVID-19 cases.
Also in Atlantic Hockey, Sacred Heart postponed the opener, originally scheduled for Saturday, against AIC and the November 24 game against Quinnipiac due to COVID-19, which has clearly caused a lot of turmoil in college sport.
Ivy Leagues’ decision not to play the winter season had a major impact on ECAC Hockey. In addition to Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Yale, Union and RPI, also ECAC members, announced the cancellation of their men’s and women’s hockey season.
In Hockey East, Vermont delayed the start of the men’s and women’s hockey seasons until December 18.
That was all a revelation for us to make sure we do the right things, said junior captain Carlie Magier, and make every effort to play. Those teams don’t get the chance that we do, and it is a privilege to be playing this season.
The HC women play 24 games, 18 counting towards the regular season Hockey East standings. The Crusaders will also host Maine on Saturday.
Holy Cross is entering its third season at Hockey East. The Crusaders won five conference games last year.
Our common goal is to stay healthy because we want to play this year and we want to do well, Magier said. We have a solid group this year. We know we can outperform in the past. It’s great to come and practice every day and see everyone just super excited to keep going and playing.
To start the 2020-21 season, all games will be played at the Hart Center without fans present.
Well, we have to create our own energy and hypnotize each other, Higgins said, keep playing strong, keep playing the way we want to play.
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