UND’s Playoff Games Cancelled. NCAA Tourney?
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference has canceled its entire postseason tournament due to the coronavirus outbreak.
That includes both the first-round series that were scheduled to be played this weekend and next week's NCHC Frozen Faceoff.
UND was scheduled to host Colorado College in a best-of-three series Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
But in a rapidly changing environment, the NCHC first pulled fans from its events Wednesday, then canceled them entirely by Thursday afternoon.
"Certainly, we're living in unprecedented times," NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton said.
The NCHC is not the only college hockey conference to cancel its tournament.
As of 1:45 p.m. Thursday, five of the six leagues had canceled their tournaments -- the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Atlantic Hockey, ECAC and Hockey East also called off their playoffs. The Big Ten was the last one yet to cancel, though it is expected to do the same.
As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the NCAA tournament was still scheduled to be played without fans present, though that appears to be in jeopardy, too. The NCAA regionals are scheduled to be played March 27-29 in Loveland, Colo., Albany, N.Y., Worcester, Mass., and Allentown, Pa. The NCAA Frozen Four is scheduled for Detroit's Little Caesars Arena on April 9-11.
If the NCAA men's hockey tournament is played, UND would receive the NCHC's autobid into the tournament because it is the regular-season champion.
UND (26-5-4) is currently the No. 1-ranked team in the Pairwise Rankings, which are used to seed and pick the 16-team field.