The NBA won’t be the only sport that plays in a bubble this year.
Last week, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) announced its preliminary 26-game schedule for the 2020-21 season.
The first half of the schedule will take place in a “pod” environment in Omaha, Neb., starting Dec. 1. All eight NCHC teams will be in Omaha, as clubs will play 10 games each over the course of three weeks.
In the pod, COVID-19 testing and medical support will be handled by the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
"We have a great partner in the University of Nebraska Medical Center, who will help us take all of the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches and staff in the pod,” University of Nebraska Omaha Vice Chancellor Trev Alberts said. “We know it will be a busy three weeks, but our staff is very excited to make this a marquee event for the NCHC and college hockey."
Because class will still be in session for some clubs, schedules will be made with each team’s final exam week in mind.
After the pod, the remaining 16-game schedule will start the first weekend of January and end March 6. All games will be held in home arenas.
To reduce travel, NCHC will split into two divisions, with Miami playing in the East Division. Outside the pod, the RedHawks will play against only division opponents, which include Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan.
During the second half of the season, teams will also have multiple bye weeks in case games need to be rescheduled. No official game schedule has been released at this time.
With less than two months until the start of the season, and plans being finalized, Miami head coach Chris Bergeron and his team are getting ready.
“It’s preparation time,” Bergeron said, “and I look forward to preparing this group.”