At last, there finally appears to be a concrete plan for the Boston College Hockey season.
Hockey East announced today the schedules and return-to-play details for the 2020-2021 men’s and women’s hockey seasons. Both leagues will play a double round robin schedule (two games against every opponent), plus three weekends at the end of the season designated as non-conference “flex” games in case there are any league game postponements.
Boston College Men’s & Women’s Hockey will both open their seasons on November 20th and 21st with a home-and-home against New Hampshire. The men start things out in Chestnut Hill for the Friday game before heading up I-95 for the Saturday game in Durham, NH, with the women doing the reverse — Friday in New Hampshire, Saturday the return game at Conte Forum.
All four men’s and women’s hockey games next weekend will be broadcast on NESN. There are a lot of league games on NESN this year — both men’s and women’s games — thanks to the delayed start for the NHL and the Boston Bruins, and in fact the league and the network have been working together to set up the schedule. Many game times for both the men and women are still To Be Determined, as NESN is looking to maximize league content with several double- and triple-headers on NESN and NESNplus planned. Any games not shown on NESN will be streamed for free — a new development this season! — on CBS All-Access.
One interesting aspect of the league season is the “Flex Games” at the end of the year. Three of the last five weekends feature extra games against league opponents that won’t count in the Hockey East standings which can be cancelled if earlier conference games need to be rescheduled for COVID reasons.
Boston College Women’s Hockey gets a very favorable slate of games for their flex weekends, with conference bottom dwellers Holy Cross and Merrimack, as well as mid-table UConn, combining for BC’s six flex games. The Boston College men’s team has it a bit tougher, but they also have maybe the most entertaining possible lineup of flex games with two each against New Hampshire, Providence, and (aw yis) Boston University. It’s a deceptively winnable set of games, too, as the Terriers, Friars, and Wildcats weren’t all that good last season, placing 6th, 8th, and 9th in last year’s standings respectively — though who knows how things will play out in our new mid-COVID world.
There are some questions as to how the 2020-2021 college hockey season will play out, but with fans likely not allowed, built-in weekends to reschedule games, arenas located in states where the population takes the virus seriously and wears masks, and — probably most importantly — all schools located in close proximity to each other, Hockey East looks like it could be uniquely positioned to have a successful year. Whether there will be a conference and/or national tournament is still up in the air... but, one step at a time. At least for now, it looks like there will be hockey.