Photo by SportsEngine
The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) released its 2020-21 prep sports calendar and playing guidelines for specific sports — including ice hockey — the first tangible steps in bringing back sports sanctioned by the governing body.
The schedule includes modifications to squeeze games into a truncated calendar year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating four seasons (designated A-D) instead of the traditional three.
Ice hockey is part of the league’s B Season and faces changes due to a compressed two-month timeframe.
According to guidelines, teams may begin practicing no earlier than Jan. 4, scrimmages will not be allowed and regular-season games can be played as soon as Jan. 7. Each team may play up to 13 regular-season contests and there is no minimum number of games needed to be completed.
For teams that schedule a full season, at least 12 games must be against league foes. Any non-league games are to come against opponents that play in the same geographic region, and Justin Saylor, the CHSAA assistant commissioner who oversees ice hockey, will approve non-league matchups in writing. A list of geographic regions will be submitted to schools to help guide this process.
The regular season ends Feb. 25, and a Frozen Four state tournament will take place March 3-5 at a location to be determined. There will be an unseeded four-team bracket in both Class 4A and Class 5A, with Saylor also setting the semifinal matchups.
Each of CHSAA’s six leagues (three in each class) will receive one automatic qualifier for the Frozen Four, and each league will choose how its respective qualifying process will work. A new seeding formula, which utilizes RPI, the coaches’ poll and MaxPreps rankings, is being introduced this year and will be used to determine an at-large qualifier in each bracket.
CHSAA also put basketball, wrestling, skiing, girls’ swimming, and competitive and sideline spirit in the B Season. CHSAA added a fourth season (March through early May) to help accommodate the delayed start of some fall sports, including football, and the organization has issued a participation moratorium on all prep sports from Oct. 18, 2020, to Jan. 3, 2021, to account for COVID-19 modeling that indicates conditions are likely to worsen in late fall.
CHSAA organizers, the CHSAA Resocialization Task Force, Colorado’s COVID-19 response team, the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), the governor’s office, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment collaborated to create the modified high school athletics and activities calendar. Despite extensive planning and collaboration, the athletics calendar is subject to change based on pandemic-related updates.
Stay up to date on CHSAA ice hockey throughout the season by visiting the Colorado Hockey Hub, where you can find scores, schedules, stats, stories and more for every varsity and junior varsity team. A CO Hockey Hub membership is required to access all the information, and registering to become a member is quick, easy and free: Just click the link below, provide your name, a valid email address and few details about your interest in hockey. You will soon be enjoying all of the membership benefits, including access to "Extra" stories and "Hub" pages containing stats, scores and more.
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