BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Women’s League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will delay the start of its 2020-21 season, WCHA Women’s League Commissioner Jennifer Flowers announced today. The move comes following approval by the Women’s League Board of Directors.
“From day one, our discussions have centered around providing our student-athletes safe, meaningful competition opportunities,” Flowers said. “While our desire was to begin the season as scheduled, our Board and the leadership at our member institutions recognize that is not an option given the current climate.
“Our primary focus continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, support staffs, officials and fans. We are actively engaged in the crafting and implementation of a return to play model that includes a new start date, addresses the diverse guidelines our member institutions are operating under and recognizes today’s ever-evolving medical and safety environments.
“This decision comes as our member institutions, which have only recently seen students return to campus, are concentrating on fulfilling their educational mission in the current landscape. Their success in tracking and meeting those challenges, coupled with rapid advances in COVID-19 testing, provide new data that inform our efforts. The League office and membership are working tirelessly to develop protocols allowing us to safely drop the puck on our season. We look forward to announcing a start date as soon as it is reasonable to do so.”
In addition to the return to play plan, WCHA staff are finalizing the 2020-21 league schedule options and details regarding the 2021 WCHA Final Faceoff. Full details on the new schedule will be announced later this fall.
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women’s League--Women’s League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will mark its 22nd season in 2020-21. The nation’s premier women’s hockey conference, WCHA member institutions have won a record 17 national championships since the league’s inception in 1999 (including 16 of a possible 19 NCAA titles), while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, 105 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team, NCAA Division I conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), The Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). The WCHA will grow to eight members with the addition of the University of St. Thomas (Tommies) beginning with the 2021-22 season. For more information, visit wcha.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).