UMaine Mens Hockey season opening series cancelled for this weekend; season still on

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 8:23 PM EST
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ORONO, Maine (WABI) - Good news and bad news from Orono Wednesday about the future of this years UMaine Hockey Season.

The bad news is that this weekend’s season opening weekend series against number-7 UMass at Alfond Arena will not be played. The good news is that there is still going to be a hockey season, and the Men’s team will now open on the road next Friday at UConn.

The UMaine women’s team’s season opening series at Hoy Cross this weekend is also a go.

In a statement released by the University, Maine President Joan Ferinni-Mundy said the school is incredibly proud of its student athletes and want to see the Bears begin their winter seasons, and that they are assessing each opportunity for our teams to compete within the context of rising COVID case counts and the threat of community transmission. Maine is working with its athletic conferences, UMaine Athletics, and safety professionals and stakeholders to determine the next steps for Maine teams.

The season usually starts in Early October, and the teams have been practicing for weeks with an eye towards the schedule while also never being totally sure a season would actually happen in this ongoing time of pandemic uncertainty.

Now... they know it will.

Maine Mens Hockey Coach Red Gendron said he’s feeling good about the chance to play some meaningful hockey this year.

”I couldn’t be more excited than I am for our players,” Gendron said. “Because they’ve earned the right to have this opportunity. They’ve earned this opportunity by how they’ve carried themselves since September, and it’s pretty special. So, I feel about as good as I’ve felt since September. Today. Because we know we’re gonna play next Friday after Thanksgiving.”

“These guys are sick of practicing against each other,” added Maine Athletic Director Ken Ralph. “I think these guys are tired of each other. So to get to see another opponent I think is quite the relief. And, y’know, we made a promise to these students when they came here that we would give them a division one opportunity, and it’s up to us to do everything we can to make that happen. And people are bending over backwards to do it, as long as we can do it within our safety protocols. And that’s the big thing, is that we will not do anything if we can’t provide a safe environment.”

Of course in a time of COVID, schedules are always subject to change, but still some great news out of Orono.

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