CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - On Thursday, we told you the St. Lawrence Women’s Hockey Team is not on campus for the fall semester, electing to come back in January when ECAC play is tentatively scheduled to start.
But unlike the women, the St. Lawrence Men’s Hockey team is back on campus waiting for word on if and when their 2020-21 hockey season will start.
To give you an idea of how crazy and fluid the situation is surrounding college sports during COVID-19, SLU Men’s Hockey Coach Brent Brekke has 8 different schedules on his desk for the 2020-21 season, with a number of scenarios in place.
Brekke says the way this year has gone, both him and his team would gladly pick one out of a hat and be happy to get back on the ice.
”We’ll take any of ’em, that’s for sure. Just pick one and we’ll run with it. So we’re excited to get going, it will be up and rolling here hopefully in the next little bit as we continue to go through our phases to resocialize, but we’re excited to have the guys back and get started here soon,” said Brekke.
Brekke says any of those schedules would likely see the Saints eliminating long distance non-conference road trips, and instead replacing those games with contests a little closer to home.
”One of those is trying to minimize your contact when you’re going to travel. So minimize hotel stays and try to change some of those trips rather than staying overnight in a hotel that you’re traveling on the day of the game and coming right back afterwards to try to, again, minimize contact and spreading of anything. So being smart about that, is that’s something we’re looking at with changing some of our non-conference opponents and obviously looking more New York based teams, or teams that are in a safe driving distance where you can get there and back,” said Brekke.
When the players get back on the ice, Brekke says the focus will be on strength and conditioning, with some players behind due to a lack of access to training facilities during the COVID outbreak.
”Yeah, everything is on their own according to, you know, they don’t have access to the ice or the fitness centers. So they have to really kind of be creative with different things. And they’ve done that, and you know it’s not the normal training. I think our guys, part of their fitness foundation when you talk about a strength aspect is gonna be a little bit different just because, you know, a few of the kids didn’t have any access to weight rooms all summer, and then some of them had access as the summer went along and it’s just- They’re all gonna be kind of at different stages with their off season training,” said Brekke.
With other college campuses around the state and country seeing COVID-19 outbreaks due to students not practicing social distancing, Brekke stresses the importance to his players and hopes they set an example for others on campus and in the community.
”It’s a constant reminder, you know, we have conversations with our guys, whether it’s Zoom calls or individual calls with our guys, to continue to remind them that everybody has a part in this. It’s not just certain students, not just the student athletes, it’s not just the faculty and the staff- it’s everybody has their part in the St. Lawrence community to make sure this works and continues to go forward smoothly. So you know, it’s not a normal year for a college student,” said Brekke.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association released it’s return to interscholastic athletics guide on Thursday night, outlining procedures to begin the high school sports season.
One key point, the start of the winter sports season, was pushed back 2 weeks to November 30th, with the fall sports season extended due to the late start, finishing sometime in December.
Section 10 Executive Director Carl Normandin, who was also on the COVID-19 Task Force that helped put the guide together, says the changes in dates were done to give sections and schools more time to prepare for the winter sports season and allow the fall sports a few extra weeks for competition.
”I think, for the same reasons that there was a pause at the beginning of the fall season, was to kind of make sure that everybody can get all their I’s dotted, T’s crossed, ducks in order and also to provide a possibility of extending the fall season. Being the fact that we started 2 weeks later, fall season is traditionally 15 weeks, winter season is 22 weeks- We can afford a little bit of time at the beginning of the winter season and still accomplish a winter regular season and a playoff, regional and state play,” said Normandin.