POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Clarkson Men’s hockey team should be getting ready for the upcoming ECAC semifinals this week. Instead, the team found out on Wednesday that their season was over, ending any chance at an ECAC championship or a trip to the NCAA tournament.
A post on the Clarkson men’s hockey page announced that the team’s 2020-21 season was over, thanking fans for their support and adding that the program looked forward to a new season in the fall.
No other explanation was given, but 7 News has learned that some members of the men’s and women’s hockey teams had a gathering on campus with players only in attendance.
Despite both teams living separate from the rest of the campus population for the entire school year, with the exception of attending classes, and regular COVID-19 testing, the gathering was a violation of university policy under COVID guidelines. That prompted the school to end the men’s season.
Clarkson men’s hockey coach Casey Jones said, ”We’ll own the decision by our guys. You know, it’s a tough one. I love our team but life lessons sometimes are difficult and this is certainly a difficult life lesson.”
While the players and coaches are disappointed, Jones says his team is appreciative of all the hard work that went into putting this season together from top to bottom and are upset that the outcome couldn’t have been different.
”The commitment that was made by everybody from administration on down for our team to be able to play and the commitment that our guys had made since August 1st and for all that to go in with the timing of it was, you know, there’s a lot of remorse,” Coach Jones said.
The premature end to Clarkson’s season also more than likely marked the end of six Golden Knight senior’s careers at the school- a class that put together a combined record of 83-37-15 and won 20 or more games 3 of their 4 seasons.
Jones said, ”Our senior class if you look at it, what they really, they lost, the last 2 didn’t get into the post season but were in line potentially to play in 4 straight NCAA tournaments and really competing all 4 years for ECAC championships.”
The Golden Knights finished the season with an 11-7-4 overall record- 6-4-4 in ECAC play- and finished 2nd in the regular season standings behind Quinnipiac, a team they went 2-2-2 against in their 6 meetings this season.
Jones says being only 1 of 4 ECAC teams playing this season will be a benefit for his team heading into the 2021-22 season.
”I actually thought we developed a lot as a team as the season went on so it obviously meant a lot to be playing,” Jones said. “With the games and the valuable experience and just going at it, we learned a lot of new things because it was so difficult to play the same teams so much but it became a chess match and it was tough sledding. So I think, long term, it will reap a lot of benefits from that.”