After the start of the season was delayed a month and a half due to COVID-19, UConn men’s hockey will have to wait another week longer to begin its season. On Sunday, the University of Vermont announced it will “delay the start of competition” for its hockey and basketball teams until Dec. 18, meaning the Huskies’ opening series against the Catamounts on Nov. 20-21 will be postponed.
UVM cited “a significant increase in COVID-19 cases” as well as “guidance from state officials” as reasons for the delay. Now, UConn’s first games are slated for Nov. 27-28 at home against Maine.
Though Hockey East may not have anticipated having a schedule disruption this early in the calendar, the conference did plan for it. There are three “flex weekends” built into each team’s schedule — series against Hockey East opponents that won’t count towards the final standings that can replaced with previously postponed matchups.
UConn’s three flex weekends are Jan. 1-2 vs UNH, Feb. 19-20 vs UMass Lowell and Feb. 26-27 vs. Northeastern. However, Vermont will miss four series with the delay, which may make re-scheduling difficult — especially if there are more postponements later in the season.
The Huskies won’t want to miss out on two games in Burlington considering the Catamounts are coming off one of the worst seasons in Hockey East history in which they went 2-18-4 in conference play, lost star goaltender Stefanos Lekkas to graduation and have a new coach at the helm in Todd Woodcroft.
Hockey East commissioner Steve Metcalf told reporters on a Zoom call last week that if every team cannot play 20 games against conference opponents, the league will use “percentage of points earned” to determine the final standings and seeding for the postseason.