When Does Ncaa Hockey Start? [Fact Checked!]

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National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hockey is played during the winter and early spring months. Typically, school breaks down during the middle of the year, so it’s not surprising that the games are played during the offseason. This season, however, is a little different. Thanks to the extended school breaks brought on by the pandemic, college teams are able to complete their seasons well before the calendar turns to 2019. This opens the door for more hockey, and the chance to take part in one of the most historic sporting events of the year: the Frozen Four. Here’s how you can follow the action this season.

Frozen Four

Hosting the Frozen Four is a testament to the growth of US college hockey. The event was first held in 1979 and is named after the iconic pond that houses the Olympic statue in the movie of the same name. Since then, it’s been held at the end of each hockey season, providing fans with one last hurrah before the spring semester begins. This year, there are four major university hockey powers lined up for a shot at glory: Arizona State University, North Dakota State University, University of Michigan, and University of Minnesota.

Every year, the four teams square off in a battle for supremacy, with the victor being decided by which team can accumulate the most points using the standard regulation-size ice sheet. The last time the event was held in the state of Minnesota was in 2011, so it’ll be good to have it back by popular demand. The Frozen Four is arguably the highlight of the winter sports season, providing fans with a last hurrah before the spring thaw sets in. And if you want to watch some hockey history, check out these stunning photos of the 1971 game, which features the original Fighting Irish, coached by Enrico Blasi. The photo on the right is a goldmine, as it features a rare sight: Minnesota wearing football helmets.

Regular Season

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the regular season is a time for players to rest and recover from the rigorous competition that defined the previous season. College hockey teams typically sit out during the offseason, allowing the young men to focus on their studies and recuperate from the previous season. This is particularly beneficial for players in the National Hockey League (NHL), as 82 games is a lot for anyone to handle. Even for those who play several sports, it’s a lot to handle.

On rare occasions, a college hockey team will take the field before the end of the season. When that happens, it usually means that the season was particularly grueling, and the athletes deserve a break. Such was the case this year, as all four teams in the Frozen Four are ranked in the top-15 of the US College Hockey Inc. (USCHO) national poll. That’s largely thanks to an upset win over defending national champion Denver University last week. It was the first-ever win over the Pioneers, and the boost in morale may have helped fuel their run in the weeks before the tournament.

Despite enjoying a break from competition, college hockey players won’t be out of sight, as they’ll be taking part in several tournaments. The two-team College Hockey Invitational will pit top-ranked players from Minnesota and North Dakota State against one another in Fargo on January 25th and 26th. One week later, on the last day of classes, the first-ever Battle of the Badges will pit traditional rivalries against one another as Minnesota-Duluth, ranked No. 2 in the country, takes on North Dakota, which is hoping to make history by becoming the first team to ever win the tournament. The winners of that game will advance to the Frozen Four, where they’ll take on the top-ranked teams from Michigan and Arizona State. The winners of that game will advance to the Frozen Four, where they’ll take on the top-ranked teams from Michigan and Arizona State.

Tournaments

Aside from the regular season, college hockey players will be taking part in several tournaments. The most prominent of these is probably the Frozen Four, as mentioned above. However, the national championship will also be held over the course of four days in April, culminating in one winner taking home the Ice Hockey National Championship Trophy. The game itself is held at the end of the season, when all the teams that made it to the championship game play for the title. But the tourney isn’t over once the final buzzer sounds, as fans will be treated to several more exciting games, featuring the top teams in the NCAA.

It’s not just the Frozen Four that’s exciting the fans, either. The regular season finale, on April 29th, will see Michigan State University and the University of Denver play for the NCAA hockey championship. The winner of that game will take home the coveted Jack Turnbull Cup. In between those two games, fans will get to see Michigan State take on Denver in the first game of a double-header.

Live Coverage

A large portion of the news media will be covering the Frozen Four, with most stations broadcasting the games live as they happen. This should make it easy for fans to follow the action, as they’ll be able to watch, live, as the games are played. Unfortunately, many networks (and cable providers) don’t always carry the channels that broadcast the games, so it’s a good idea to check the listings to see what’s available where you live.

The Importance Of Ratings

Ratings matter in television, and they particularly matter when it comes to college hockey. Without them, stations won’t risk airing games that might not appeal to the target audience. In today’s age of DVRs and streaming services, fans can choose to tune in to a show at any time, which means that stations have to appeal to a much larger pool of people if they want to ensure that anyone tunes in at all.

Final Takeaway

In conclusion, we would advise students who are interested in becoming a college hockey coach to pursue a Master’s degree in sports administration or physical education. These degrees don’t necessarily require a lot of classroom time, as most classes are done online. This makes it possible to complete a college coaching certificate as well as earn a Master’s degree in sports administration or physical education, even during the school year. If you follow the right steps and get the right grades, you could potentially end up becoming a college hockey coach, and, one day, an NHL head coach.

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