This is the 2020-21 American Collegiate hockey season.
- 1 Playing Seasons in Jeopardy
- 2 Seasons Delayed
- 3 Season Cancellations
- 4 2021 National Championships Affected
- 5 Rule Changes
- 6 St. Thomas Jumping from D-III to D-I for 2021-22
- 7 New Programs
- 8 NCAA Division I
- 9 NCAA Division II
- 10 NCAA Division III
- 11 NAIA
- 12 See Also
- 13 References
Playing Seasons in Jeopardy
Bowdoin College announced on June 22nd that the college will not be having students on campus for the fall semester. This would cancel fall sports and delay the start of winter sports until January 2021 at the earliest. The University of Massachusetts-Boston would make a similar announcement within a few days. On July 1st Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced that fall sports were cancelled and that the decision on winter and spring sports would be made in a timely manner, likely indicating that hockey will start in January at the earliest. The Ivy League announced it was not allowing teams to play for the fall semester meaning the six members that sponsor men's and women's ice hockey (Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale) will not be starting play until January at the earliest. This decision will impact ECAC Hockey as the all six members are members of the conference for both men and women.
On July 15th it was announced that the season opening Ice Breaker Tournament which was slated for October 9-10 at the AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minnesota would be cancelled being the first actual event to be cancelled for the 2021-22 season.
The city of Philadelphia announced that events of 50 or more people won't be allowed until March 2021 at the earliest. Despite not having an NCAA program in the city the precedent may be set by this decision indicating that hockey as well basketball, football, and baseball won't be happening in front of crowds in some cities.
Also on July 15th, the all-sport Empire 8 Conference announced it was cancelling all falls sports. This announcement would affect United Collegiate Hockey Conference members Elmira College, Utica College, and Nazareth College and State University of New York Athletic Conference members State University of New York at Brockport and State University of New York at Cortland. No decision was announced for the winter sports but would likely indicate that the five programs likely won't be starting until January at the earliest.
On July 17th the Commonwealth Coast Conference announced that all conference sports were cancelled until at least January 1, 2021 leaving the men's and women's hockey leagues unable to start until then.
On July 20th it was announced that the Friendship Four Tournament which was scheduled to be held it Belfast, Northern Ireland was cancelled. The Army Black Knights, Mercyhurst Lakers, Quinnipiac Bobcats, and Sacred Heart Pioneers were schedule to participate in the tournament.
On August 6th the National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced that the conference was delaying the start of the men's and women's conference seasons until the 2021 calendar year but would allow the individual members to determine non-conference play for the 2020 portion of the season. The conference would late announce on October 13th that they were considering using a bubble format for three weeks in one location to get each team in 10 games between Thanksgiving and Christmas. On October 17 it was announced that the Baxter Arena in Omaha, Nebraska will be the location of the early games with games moving back to campus locations in January. The bubble will have the teams playing their 8 cross divisional games. While the inter divisional games will start in January at the team's regular rinks as they play 6 games each against the teams in the same division. This was being done in part to also save on travel expenses for the programs.
On September 10, 2020 the Hockey Commissioners Association, which is a group made up of the 11 NCAA Division I hockey conference commissioners issued the following statement:
“The eleven Division I men’s and women’s ice hockey conferences, represented by the Hockey Commissioners Association (HCA), are committed to providing memorable experiences for our student-athletes during the upcoming season. The conferences have been working together on plans to return to play with a focus on the health and safety of everyone associated within our campus communities. Due to the impact COVID-19 continues to have across the country and within higher education, the start of competition for the Division I college hockey season will be delayed. Each conference will announce plans for the season individually. We look forward to enjoying the college hockey experience this season.”
The Northern Collegiate Hockey Association announced a return to play beginning with the weekend on January 30-31. St. Norbert men's and women's team (December 21st) and Finlandia women's team (on January 11) teams are not playing based on previous decisions of the individual schools.
On November 9th the Rochester Institute of Technology announced the cancellation of all winter sports including men's and women's ice hockey. On November 17th the university reconsidered it decision on November 17th shortly after nearby Union College cancelled their season. RIT cited submitting their return to play plans with the state of New York as reason for the reversal and a much lower than normal number of students on campus between Thanksgiving and late January.
On November 12th, it was announced that the men's and women's Beanpot, an annual two week tournament held in February involving Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University would be cancelled for the first time in its' history. This decision was announced prior to the ivy league cancelling their winter sports playing seasons the same day.
On November 12th, the Ivy League member teams of the ECAC Hockey had their seasons cancelled when the Ivy League announced that it was cancelling all winter sports for men and women. This would leave Brown University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College , Harvard University, Princeton University and Yale University] not playing for the season. The decision end 124 straight seasons of men's ice hockey being played by Yale University dating back to the first American collegiate game on February 1, 1896.
On November 13th, the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves announced that they would opt out of the 2020-21 season due to concerns over the pandemic. This marks the end of the program as it was already scheduled to be cancelled after the 2020-21 playing season.
Also on November 13th, the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference announced that all winter sports play was cancelled. However, members would be able to schedule non-conference contests at their discretion.
On November 23rd the New England Hockey Conference announced that it was cancelling both the men's and women's season due to the league having teams in six different states and travel/quarantine restrictions would make league play non-feasible.
On December 21st the St. Norbert College announced that the St. Norbert Green Knights men's ice hockey team and St. Norbert Green Knights women's ice hockey team won't be playing for the 2020-21 playing season as its main conference had already cancelled fall and winter sports.
On January 7th the administration at UCHC and MAC member King's College announced that the college will not be participating in winter sports cancelling the King's College Monarchs men's ice hockey and King's College Monarchs women's ice hockey seasons.
On January 13th, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference approved a seven game conference schedule (once against each conference member to begin on February 6th. The conference's automatic bids to the NCAA tournaments will be given to the team achieving the best winning percentage and completing at least 51% of their schedule.
2021 National Championships Affected
On February 3rd, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced that the 2021 NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Tournament will be held at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pennsylvania March 15-21. Two quarterfinal games will be played on March 15th and the other two on the 16th, The semifinals will be played on the 19th and the National Championship game will be played on the 21st.
Also on February 3rd, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced the cancellation of the 2021 NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Tournament and the 2021 NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Tournament as a result of many teams cancelling their playing seasons with less than half of the institutions that sponsored men's and women's ice hockey not playing for the 2020-21 season.
Games that are tied at the end of regulation will play a five-minute, 3-on-3 sudden-victory overtime period to decide a winner. If neither team scores, a three-person shootout could be used in conference games or in-season tournaments for advancement purposes.
In addition, the “spinorama” move won't be allowed in shootouts.
In regular-season non-conference games that go into overtime, teams are required to play a five-minute, 3-on-3 sudden-victory period. If neither team scores, the result of the game would be a tie.
Teams are now allowed to choose which face off circle the puck would be dropped in at the start of a power play or after icing violations, and also approved allowing officials to issue a warning on face off violations instead of ejecting the center. If a second violation by the same team occurs during the same face off, a two-minute bench minor penalty for delay of game will be called.
St. Thomas Jumping from D-III to D-I for 2021-22
On July 15, 2020 the St. Thomas Tommies women's ice hockey team was announced as joining the Western Collegiate Hockey Association women's conference for the 2021-22 season by a unanimous vote as the conference's 8th member. In the same story the St. Thomas men's ice hockey team would be announcing a conference affiliation at a later date. The process for a jump from Division III to Division I usually takes 12 years by NCAA guidelines, But circumstances made it a lot easier for the university to make the jump directly. The university was already accepted as an all-sport (except football) member of the Summit League and the football team joins the Pioneer League. St. Thomas becomes only the second full Division I in the state of Minnesota after the Minnesota Golden Gophers who are an all-sport member of the Big Ten Conference. Based on the normal guidelines for jumping from Division II to Division I the men's team won't be eligible for postseason play until 2024-25 at the earliest while the women's team is likely in the same situation as women's play is Divisions I and II combined and the ineligibility period would likely be the same. The men's team would be officially announced as joining the Central Collegiate Hockey Association for the 2021-22 season.
On October 6, 2020 Rivier University in Nashua, New Hampshire announced the addition of the Rivier University Raiders men's ice hockey and Rivier University Raiders women's ice hockey to begin play with the 2021-22 season as American Collegiate Hockey Association (club) teams with a move to full NCAA status in 2022-23. No mention was made of either a division or conference when the team begins varsity play in 2022. Both teams will be based out of the Conway Arena in Nashua.
In May of 2021 Tennessee State University announced that the university in partnership with the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League will conduct a feasibility study for the addition of a men's varsity ice hockey program. TSU would be the first Historically Black College and University to add a varsity ice hockey program for either gender. Base on the support of the Predators organization and its proximity to other schools in the Great Lakes region a program may have a chance to happen.
NCAA Division I
- In June of 2019 it was announced that seven members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association would be leaving the conference for the 2021-22 season. In February 2020 it was announced that the conference would be a revival of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association name. The Alaska Nanooks men's ice hockey team announced they would play an independent schedule for the 2021-22 season on February 12th. The Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves men's ice hockey team and Alabama-Huntsville Chargers men's ice hockey team will both also likely play an independent schedule if they do end up playing in 2021-22. Atlantic Hockey Association is unlikely to add another team unless a second team, most likely candidate would be the LIU Sharks men's ice hockey team, is also looking to join the conference as the league is apparently holding a spot for a rumored team to begin play at the United States Naval Academy over the next few years. As the conference already has the United States Air Force Academy and United States Military Academy teams, the Naval Academy team would be a natural and desired fit for the team.
- On July 9, 2019 the University of Pennsylvania men's and women's hockey teams presently playing in ACHA Division II would be working on an endowment that would first elevate the programs to ACHA Division I status with a goal of establishing NCAA Division I varsity programs within ten years for both men and women.
- On October 4, 2019 the University of St. Thomas announced that the university had been accepted a an all-sport member of the NCAA Division I Horizon League for the 2021-22 pending approval of an NCAA waiver as it usually takes 12 years to make the jump. The men's program may end up in the newly re-established Central Collegiate Hockey Association and the women's team ended up in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association women's conference. On July 29, 2020 the men's team would be officially announced as joining the Central Collegiate Hockey Association for the 2021-22 season.
- On January 29, 2020 the New England Women's Hockey Alliance announced it would be expanding for the 2021-22 season with the addition of the Stonehill Skyhawks who are adding women's ice hockey. Stonehill College is located in Easton, Massachusetts. The team will be based out of the Bridgewater Ice Arena in nearby Bridgewater, Massachusetts. This would give the conference seven teams and make it eligible for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with the 2021-22 season. The NCAA has not officially announced that the conference would be granted the automatic bid but the possibility exists that the tournament field may be expanded to fit the NEWHA automatic bid. However, due to issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic the university would announce on September 11, 2020 that it would be delaying the start of its' program until the 2022-23 season.
- On April 30,2020 Long Island University announced the start of a men's Men's Division I program to begin with the 2020-21 season. It is unknown as of the time of the announcement if the team will play as an independent for the 2020-21 season or if they are attempting to join a conference. 
- On May 22, 2020 the University of Alabama, Huntsville announced that they were discontinuing the men's ice hockey program effective immediately citing financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chargers became the first men's Division I program to be ended since Wayne State University ended their program in 2008. The program would be saved less than a week later when supporters were able to raise over $750,000. A committee would be formed in an effort to provide for the long term survival of the program.
- On August 19, 2020 it was announced that the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves men's ice hockey program would be cancelled effective the end of the 2020-21 playing season. Rumors of the program being cancelled have been going for several years as the state of Alaska has been hit with severe budget constraints prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On October 6th it was announced that the Arizona State Sun Devils Men's Ice Hockey team would play four road games against each of the six members of the Big Ten Conference but would not participate in the conference tournament.
As part of announcing the start of the regular season on November 13th Atlantic Hockey announced that the LIU Sharks men's ice hockey team will be added as a scheduling partner for the 2020-21 season. The league will also be broken into scheduling pods. The Air Force Falcons are an outlier on the schedule and would play two games against each of the other members of the conference, with the same being done with LIU. The balance of the teams will be separated into two pods and will play five games against each of the other teams in their pods.
On May 26, 2021 Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania announced announced the cancellation of both the men's and women's hockey programs effective immediately as "part of a series of strategic initiatives intended to position the university to be amongst the most agile and professionally focused schools in the nation as it prepares for its upcoming 100th anniversary". The university announced that it would honor all athletic scholarships and would help those wanting to transfer to other universities. They also announced the establishment of a women's club team and three men's club teams. Several have been filed lawsuits and a group called the Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation has been working on raising funding to get the program reinstated and raise finances to keep the programs running in perpetuity.
- 2020-21 Atlantic Hockey Season (planned November 13th start)
- 2020-21 Big Ten Season (planned November 13 start with Arizona State added as scheduling partner)
- 2020-21 ECAC Men's Season (Ivy League schools won't play this season)
- 2020-21 Hockey East Men's Ice Hockey Season
- 2020-21 NCHC Season (planned December 1st start with a hub concept for 3 weeks)
- 2020-21 WCHA Men's Season
- 2020-21 NCAA Division I Men's Independents
- 2020-21 College Hockey America Season
- 2020-21 ECAC Women's Season (Ivy League schools won't play this season)
- 2020-21 Hockey East Women's Season
2020-21 NEWHA Season(Season cancelled December 16th)
- 2020-21 WCHA Women's Season
- 2020-21 NCAA Women's Independents
NCAA Division II
Presently all of the Division II women's ice hockey playing universities are members of the New England Women's Hockey Alliance. The NCAA's top level women's ice hockey championship is open to universities at both the Division I and Division II levels.
NCAA Division III
- On October 4, 2019 the Commonwealth Coast Conference announced it would be starting to sponsor women's hockey. It will assume operations of the Colonial Hockey Conference. As part of the announcement it was announced that the Suffolk Rams would be joining the conference for 2020-21 and that Western New England Golden Bears would be starting a women's team for 2020-21. This will make six of the seven members of the CHC also being full members of the CCC with the Becker Hawks being an associate member of the conference for both men's and women's hockey. With having seven members the conference will retain its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
- On May 27, 2020 it was announced that the St. Scholastica Saints men's ice hockey and St. Scholastica Saints women's ice hockey teams would be joining the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the 2021-22 season as an all sports member. The college is presently a member of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association.
- On June 22, 2020 New England Small College Athletic Conference member Bowdoin College announced that their men's and women's hockey teams will not be beginning play until January 1, 2021 at the earliest citing all students not being on campus in the fall and not having the fall or winter sports teams playing during the first semester (September-December) of the 2020-21 academic year.
- The St. Thomas Tommies men's and women's teams are playing their last season in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as the university's athletic program is being involuntarily removed from the conference at the end of the 2020-21 academic year due to throwing the competitive balance of the conference out of order. The university is making the jump to NCAA Division I directly from NCAA Division III which is a process that usually takes 12 years. The women's team was accepted into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and the men's team ended up in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The team will have restrictions in place as to their eligibility for post season play in their new conferences and for the NCAA tournament which is standard for teams joining Division I in all NCAA sports.
- The Lawrence Vikings women's ice hockey team begins play as a member of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association for the 2020-21 season.
- On March 28, 2021, the Becker College Board of Trustees announced the decision to permanently close the college effective the end of the 2020-21 academic year. This would obviously end both the men's and women's hockey programs at the college.
- On March 30, 2021, Worcester State University announces the addition of women's ice hockey for the 2021-22 season. No conferences affiliation was announced with the announcement. The team announced current Becker Hawks women's ice hockey head coach Eliza Kelley as the program's first head coach. Ironically, the team will be based out of the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center which was home to both of the Becker Hawks teams as well as the Worcester State Lancers men's ice hockey team.
2020-21 CCC Men's Season(season cancelled on January 21st)
- 2020-21 MAC Men's Season
2020-21 MASCAC Season(season cancelled on November 13th)
- 2020-21 MIAC Men's Season
- 2020-21 NCHA Men's Season
2020-21 NEHC Men's Season(season cancelled November 23rd) 2020-21 NESCAC Men's Season(season cancelled October 8th) 2020-21 SUNYAC Season(season cancelled October 19th)
- 2020-21 UCHC Men's Season
- 2020-21 WIAC Men's Season
- 2020-21 NCAA D-II and III Men's Independents
2021 NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Tournament(event cancelled on February 3rd)
2020-21 CCC Women's Season(season cancelled on January 21st)
- 2020-21 MAC Women's Season
- 2020-21 MIAC Women's Season
- 2020-21 NCHA Women's Season
2020-21 NEHC Women's Season(season cancelled November 23rd) 2020-21 NESCAC Women's Season(season cancelled October 8th) 2020-21 NEWHL Season(season cancelled October 23)
- 2020-21 UCHC Women's Season (season won't start until February 19th)
- 2020-21 WIAC Women's Season
2021 NCAA Division III Women's Ice Hockey Tournament(Event cancelled February 3rd)
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics added a sponsored conference in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The initial conference to sponsor men's ice hockey is the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. According to a report in January of 2019; the NAIA never approved of the formation of the league.
- 2014-15 American Collegiate Season
- 2015-16 American Collegiate Season
- 2016-17 American Collegiate Season
- 2017-18 American Collegiate Season
- 2018-19 American Collegiate Season
- 2019-20 American Collegiate season
- 2020-21 Canadian Junior Season
- 2020-21 American Junior Hockey Season
- 2020-21 North American Professional Season
- 2020-21 Canadian Senior Season
- 2020-21 Canadian University Season
- 2020-21 North American Women's Season
- 2020-21 American Senior Hockey Season