BIG RAPIDS — It was already apparent college schedules for the 2020-21 seasons could be under adjustments because of the Coronavirus attack.
But teams in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, such as Ferris State, were thrown another curveball on Friday.
Alabama Huntsville announced it was dropping Division I hockey effective immediately.
“To me it was a surprise, I hadn’t heard anything about it until the release came out,” Ferris coach Bob Daniels said. “My reaction is I’m sadden to see them drop the program. I thought there was a possibility they could have gotten into the (new) CCHA, but they needed to invest a little into their program. Being where we’re at right now with the COVID situation, I’ve kept a lot of things going on.”
It’s obviously a disruptive factor for 2020-21 schedules.
“There’s so many moving parts right now,” Daniels said. “We went from 36 games down to 32. If we didn’t do anything we’re still in good shape. We’ll look to see who in our conference we only play twice and see if they were to play Huntsville and maybe to look to go nonconference there. The key, given the current environment with COVID, it’s important we look for games that are close to home.
“We’re not looking to go somewhere far away to add two more games. We’re in an envious spot. I don’t think we need to add four. If we get to the normal 34, we’d be happy. We got an extra two over and above 34 because we play two in Anchorage.”
How league standings would work, with the loss of Anchorage, is to be determined, Daniels said.
“There’s a contingency plan,” he said. “There are five teams that would have played them four times and four teams that would have played them twice. Regardless of how we do it, one team is going to be short a couple of games. More than likely, we’ll go to some sort of winning percentage for the standings.
“We’re going to work on it. We’ve got meetings scheduled for the early part of new week. One thing we have to be cautious of is the NCAA hasn’t decided how they want to handle the COVID situation. We’re going full board; we’re going to start our normal October date. But the possibility exists we’ll have a later start date. There could be more moving parts and more things occur. The key, given the climate, is to be flexible and not overreact to any one thing.”