AHA announces return-to-play plan beginning weekend of November 13-14

The+Atlantic+Hockey+Association+has+announced+it+will+resume+play+in+mid-November.+Photo+Credit%3A+David+Auth

The Atlantic Hockey Association has announced it will resume play in mid-November. Photo Credit: David Auth

By Austin Bechtold, Assistant Sports Editor

The Atlantic Hockey Association announced today on their Twitter page that the 2020-21 season will begin the weekend of November 13-14, signaling a return to action for the Colonials men’s hockey team.

https://twitter.com/Atlantic_Hockey/status/1316741153354584064

The schedule accounts for 24 games with the conference’s 11 teams granted the opportunity to add four games, maxing out the number of potential contests at 28.

“It’s been a long process, and involved quite a bit of discussion, but it’s a testament to all those involved that we have managed to get Atlantic Hockey on the ice in 2020-21,” Atlantic Hockey Commissioner Robert DeGregorio said via the association’s website. “We put this schedule together to maximize the student-athlete experience during such uncertain times. We found a way to schedule up to 28 games while maintaining a focus on the health and safety of all parties by reducing travel times and overnight trips as much as we could.”

In an attempt to limit exposure of travel during the season, the AHA has divided 10 teams into eastern and western pods, with five teams in each geographical pod and Air Force standing alone on the outside looking in. The eastern pod consists of AIC, Army, Holy Cross, Bentley, and Sacred Heart. Robert Morris finds themselves in the western pod, joined by Canisius, Mercyhurst, RIT, and Niagara.

RMU will face Mercyhurst, Canisius, RIT, and Niagara five times each as a part of pod play, Air Force twice, and also two games against LIU, who is being worked into the schedule this season. This system applies to the other nine teams involved in pod action as well.

The Colonials returned to the ice on September 9 for the first time since the shutdown for some small group work.

https://twitter.com/RMUMHockey/status/1303743078801592320

The Atlantic Hockey Tournament will conclude the season with all 10 pod teams and Air Force joining forces in a span of three weekends, leading up to a return to Buffalo’s LECOM HarborCenter for the postseason tournament.

The AHA is still finalizing safe protocols to return to the ice this season, with the full 2020-21 season schedule set to be released at a later time.