The Arizona State hockey program will be playing games against the Big Ten Conference for the 2020-21 hockey season.
In a COVID-19 pandemic world, the season will only take place for one year, and it is not a permanent move to the conference. ASU will play 28 road games, with four games against each Big Ten opponent.
The Sun Devils are not eligible for the conference tournament at the end of the season, but this move will allow the team to compete with a full schedule, albeit they are all on the road.
Although it might not be a perfect set-up schedule-wise, it allows an independent program like ASU to play games during a time where almost all conferences in all sports around the country are going to conference-only formats.
“We are obviously thrilled to partner with the Big Ten on this scheduling arrangement coming out of such a difficult and challenging last six months,” said Sun Devil Hockey head coach Greg Powers in a release from the team. “We are looking forward to the challenge presented in front of us and making all Sun Devils proud. We can’t thank the Big Ten’s coaches and administrators enough for including us as an independent so our student-athletes can share a meaningful season with theirs.”
In accordance with Big Ten medical procedures, the hockey team will undergo daily antigen testing and cardiac screenings.
“The 2020-21 hockey season builds on the rich traditions of Big Ten Hockey and brings new competitive opportunities to the Conference with the Arizona State University scheduling agreement,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “As our teams return to competition, we will continue to keep the health and safety of our student-athletes at the forefront of our decisions.”
Games are expected to start as soon as Nov. 13 in Big Ten college hockey. A schedule hasn’t yet been released. In hockey, the Big Ten features Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Penn State. ASU has four games against each school.
“With the national trend of athletic conferences transitioning their schedules to conference only, several of our programs are directly affected and maybe none more than our hockey program as an independent,” said Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson. “We want to thank the Big Ten, commissioner Kevin Warren, and the university presidents and athletic directors for lending a hand and coordinating a scheduling arrangement for this season.”