The ever-changing Hockey East schedule got updated again today, and Boston College now finally, maybe knows who they will be playing to open up the season (maybe).
Boston College will take on #7 UMass-Amherst in a home-and-home series this Friday and Saturday, according to an update issued by Hockey East. Friday’s game at Kelley Rink will take place at 6 PM, and will air on NESN. Saturday’s game will be at UMass, and will be at 4:30 PM on NESN+.
These changes come as programs across the country scramble to try to get in as many games as they can, knowing that COVID-related cancellations are inevitable.
BCI had previously reported that this weekend’s scheduled men’s series against Providence may be pushed back to Saturday/Sunday, as quarantines impacting the Friars held up their readiness for the season.
With UMass ready to go, having played two games this past weekend against UConn, it appears the decision was made for PC to push their start back by a week. PC will now open up on December 4 against Northeastern.
A few notes on this:
- Hockey East had built in flex weekends for teams to play ‘non-conference’ games against fellow Hockey East teams, knowing that these weekends could also instead be used to backfill for league games if necessary.
- Conveniently for BC, they already had ‘non-conference’ games scheduled against UNH (Feb. 5-6) and Providence (Feb. 19-20). So if they’re able to avoid further cancellations (a big if), those games can just be played as league games without having to move anything else around.
- BC has an existing league series scheduled with UMass-Amherst on January 15-16, which presumably will either be converted into a ‘nonconference’ series or used to move other games as necessary.
- Obviously, a lot can and will change, but in trying to analyze the competitive impacts here: the downside is that BC has to play UMA, one of the best teams in the country, without Alex Newhook - and while cold, against a team that already has two games under its belt. Not great!
- The upside is that 4 Hockey East games that were going to be played with Newhook gone - PC x2 and UNH x2 - will now be played with him back (you know, in theory, if they happen). Additionally, playing a couple of nonconference games later in the season against UMass-Amherst will be a good test for a theoretical tournament run (you know, in theory, if it happens).
- Annoyingly, BC men’s hockey was supposed to play at 1 on Saturday, a nice lead-in to football at 4. Now they’ll be playing at 4:30, a direct overlap.
- It’s likely completely out of BC’s control, especially with the game being played at UMass, but hopefully Hockey East can work with the TV partners to try to create more optimal scheduling for fans so that different TV sports aren’t playing at the same time. With TV being our only link to our teams this year, that should be taken into account with future scheduling whenever possible.