With college hockey slated to begin next weekend, the clock was ticking for the schedule to be released. But that long wait is finally over as Michigan’s first 10 games were unveiled Thursday afternoon.
After the Big Ten announced their plans for a conference-only season last month, they spent the last few weeks working with coaches and athletic directors and composing various drafts of schedules. They have been trying to find the most effective way to reduce travel and keep players safe as teams attempt to play a season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michigan will open its season on Nov. 14th against Arizona State at Yost Arena which will feel anything but normal. Instead of a packed arena with cheers led by the Children of Yost, the arena will be empty, with cardboard cutouts filling some seats. The Sun Devils will be an interesting first test for the Wolverines, as they are playing the entire Big Ten for this season so the seven conference teams will not have a bye week throughout the season.
Another unique feature of this schedule is the addition of weekday games. Traditionally college hockey is played in two-game series on Fridays and Saturdays but without fans, the games can effectively be played at any time. This will lead to games piling up and players will have to be diligent with their recovery process and adjust to not having a normal practice schedule.
Michigan will face this challenge starting on Nov. 27 when they will play four games in seven days. It will not be easy but the Wolverines are just happy to have a season and will figure out how to stay on top of their game — and stay healthy.
“It’s going to be unlike any schedule we’ve ever played before,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “But at this point we’re just going to embrace it and we’re just anxious to get going.”
The first ten games are listed below. The full schedule will be released at a later date.
Nov. 14 and 15 vs. Arizona State
Nov. 19 and 20 @ Wisconsin
Nov. 27 and 28 vs. Notre Dame
Dec. 2 and 3 @ Penn State
Dec. 8 and 9 vs. Minnesota