2021 Beanpots cancelled

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Sarah Olender

Madigan celebrates his sixth Beanpot with a can of Boston’s best beans.

Valeria Vazquez, sports editor

The 2021 men’s and women’s Beanpots were cancelled Monday afternoon for the first time in the tournament’s history due to COVID-19, according to a press release.

“The Beanpot, TD Garden’s annual college hockey tournament, will not be played in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the TD Garden statement said. “We look forward to hosting the 69th Beanpot tournament in 2022.”

There was speculation that the Beanpot would be cancelled last week when the Ivy League Council of Presidents announced that Ivy League schools, including Beanpot competitor Harvard, would not participate in winter sports for the 2020-21 season. Hockey East commissioner Steve Metcalf also held a press conference last Thursday hinting at its cancellation.

“Regrettably, the current trends regarding transmission of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent protocols that must be put in place are impeding our strong desire to return to intercollegiate athletics competition in a safe manner,” said the Ivy League press release.

Even though there is no Beanpot, there is still a Hockey East season. On Nov. 11, Hockey East announced the 2020-21 schedule and return to play details. NESN released a schedule through Jan. 1 for fans to watch from home, and any other games are available to stream through ViacomCBS Digital for free all year.

“We are very excited to get to this point, it’s been a tremendous amount of work,” Metcalf said. “We spent a lot of time to ensure we could do this safely, for all of our teams and institutions, particularly our student athletes. … Judging from the reaction yesterday, there is certainly quite a few people in New England who are excited that we announced our schedule and that we’re coming back.”

All 11 men’s teams will compete in 20 league contests, and the 10 women’s teams will play 18. The final five weekends of the schedule will be reserved as Flex Weekends with tentative contests for non-conference play, in case they need to be used for postponed games.

For example, UVM announced Sunday that it would postpone its return to play until Dec. 18, meaning games scheduled before then would most likely be rescheduled for Flex Weekends.

“Our state is obviously seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases and it’s important that our programs are operating in a manner that is consistent with guidance from state officials,” said UVM Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman.

The men’s hockey team is scheduled to play its first game of the season Nov. 27 at UMass Lowell, followed by a home game against Lowell the next day at 3:30 p.m.

The women’s hockey team’s first game is scheduled for Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. against Providence College at Matthews Arena, with the Huskies traveling to Providence the following day for another game.