Officials around the Big Ten Conference and the University of Wisconsin men's hockey program suggested ahead of Thursday's release of the initial part of the 2020-21 schedule that some unusual game dates might be in the works.
In the first four weeks, the Badgers will open six two-game series on six different days of the week.
Let's get weird, Big Ten hockey.
For the Badgers, only the Nov. 13-14 opening series at No. 20 Notre Dame will be in college hockey's traditional Friday/Saturday setup as UW squeezes 12 games into 27 days before the Christmas break.
"I don't think anyone has anything against that," Badgers senior forward Linus Weissbach said. "It's a lot of games but we've been practicing now for about eight months. The more games we can play, the better. So we're all happy about that."
Home series against No. 12 Michigan, No. 9 Penn State and No. 15 Arizona State and road trips to No. 10 Ohio State and Michigan State also are on the docket for the Badgers' opening month.
That leaves home and road series against archrival Minnesota, ranked 14th in the preseason poll, among games to be scheduled for the remainder of the season after Christmas.
The six UW home games in November are laid out over a span of 11 days, and a pro-style schedule for the opening four weeks offers no more than four days off between contests.
"That's a little bit different than we've ever had," Badgers coach Tony Granato said. "But the excitement of the opportunity to be able to play again, with all the uncertainties and things that have gone on, we're hockey players and we're getting that chance to play. So if they told us we were playing 10 games in a row in 10 days in a row, we'd be there. It's just what we do."
After a six-week delay to the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Big Ten schools are playing a 28-game schedule this season that includes four games against each conference opponent and four home games against independent Arizona State. The contests against the Sun Devils won't count toward the standings.
Arizona State has agreed to adhere to the same medical protocols as the Big Ten schools. Like with football, they involve daily antigen testing for COVID-19, a 21-day layoff and cardiac screening for those who have tested positive for the coronavirus and a data-driven approach to deciding when practices and games need to be canceled.
It took until eight days before the opener for the Big Ten to release the first part of the schedule. Granato said Wednesday that team concerns about travel and safety were holding up the final product, which had been revised multiple times.
Game times and television broadcasts will be announced later. The Badgers are hoping to have all of their home games televised.
The schedule delay didn't seem to trouble Badgers players.
"You could tell us we're going to play somebody tomorrow and I think we'd be ready to go, no matter who it is," graduate transfer goaltender Robbie Beydoun said.
Said captain and junior defenseman Ty Emberson: "Everyone's been working a long time for this and now it's actually coming about."
During the time when fans aren't allowed to attend games because of the coronavirus, the Badgers will play home games at LaBahn Arena. The fanless experience around the Big Ten allowed for scheduling flexibility to both fit games into open TV windows and allow for earlier return travel.
UW will open series against Michigan on Thursday, Nov. 19; against Penn State on Monday, Nov. 23; against Arizona State on Saturday, Nov. 28; at Ohio State on Thursday, Dec. 3 and at Michigan State on Tuesday, Dec. 8.
That compressed window should allow the Badgers to have their three players being considered for the U.S. World Junior Championship team — forwards Cole Caufield, Owen Lindmark and Sam Stange — through the first half. USA Hockey is hoping to bring prospects in for a final camp around Dec. 9, right when UW closes its 2019 schedule.
Forward Dylan Holloway may leave for Canada's extended tryout camp, scheduled to begin Nov. 16, after the opening UW series at Notre Dame although Granato said that hasn't been finalized.
Badgers men's hockey 2020-21 schedule
|Friday, Nov. 13||at Notre Dame||W 2-0||NBCSN, NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app|
|Saturday, Nov. 14||at Notre Dame||W 5-3||NHL Network, NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app|
|Thursday, Nov. 19||Michigan||L 5-2||Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Detroit, foxsportsgo.com, btnplus.com|
|Friday, Nov. 20||Michigan||L 2-1 OT||Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Detroit, foxsportsgo.com, btnplus.com|
|Monday, Nov. 23||Penn State||W 6-3||BTN, foxsports.com|
|Tuesday, Nov. 24||Penn State||W 7-3||BTN, foxsports.com|
|Saturday, Nov. 28||Arizona State||L 8-5||Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Arizona, foxsportsgo.com|
|Sunday, Nov. 29||Arizona State||L 3-1||Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Arizona, foxsportsgo.com|
|Thursday, Dec. 3||at Ohio State||L 4-2||btnplus.com|
|Friday, Dec. 4||at Ohio State||W 3-1||ESPNU|
|Tuesday, Dec. 8||at Michigan State||PPD||BTN, foxsports.com|
|Wednesday, Dec. 9||at Michigan State||PPD||BTN, foxsports.com|
|Saturday, Jan. 9||Minnesota||W 3-1||Fox Sports Wisconsin, foxsportsgo.com|
|Sunday, Jan. 10||Minnesota||L 5-3||Fox Sports Wisconsin, foxsportsgo.com|
|Friday, Jan. 15||Arizona State||W 4-0||Fox Sports Wisconsin+, foxsportsgo.com|
|Saturday, Jan. 16||Arizona State||W 5-2||Fox Sports Wisconsin, foxsportsgo.com|
|Thursday, Jan. 21||at Penn State||W 4-1||btnplus.com|
|Friday, Jan. 22||at Penn State||L 5-4||btnplus.com|
|Friday, Jan. 29||Michigan State||W 6-0||Fox Sports Wisconsin+, foxsportsgo.com|
|Saturday, Jan. 30||Michigan State||W 4-1||Fox Sports Wisconsin, foxsportsgo.com|
|Friday, Feb. 5||at Minnesota||W 4-1||Fox Sports Wisconsin+, Fox Sports North+, foxsportsgo.com|
|Saturday, Feb. 6||at Minnesota||W 8-1||Fox Sports Wisconsin+, Fox Sports North+, foxsportsgo.com|
|Saturday, Feb. 13||at Michigan||L 5-1||BTN, foxsports.com|
|Sunday, Feb. 14||at Michigan||W 3-2||btnplus.com|
|Friday, Feb. 19||Notre Dame||W 4-2||Fox Sports Wisconsin+, foxsportsgo.com|
|Saturday, Feb. 20||Notre Dame||T 5-5||Fox Sports Wisconsin, foxsportsgo.com|
|Friday, Feb. 26||Ohio State||W 2-1 OT||Fox Sports Wisconsin, foxsportsgo.com|
|Saturday, Feb. 27||Ohio State||W 7-0||Fox Sports Wisconsin, foxsportsgo.com|
|Friday, March 5||at Michigan State||W 4-0||btnplus.com|
|Saturday, March 6||at Michigan State||W 2-1||BTN, foxsports.com|
|Monday, March 15||B1G semifinals vs. Penn State||W 4-3 OT||BTN, foxsports.com|
|Tuesday, March 16||B1G championship vs. Minnesota||L 6-4||BTN, foxsports.com|
Catch up on what you might have missed in the Badgers men's hockey 2020 offseason
Catch up on what you might have missed in the Badgers men's hockey 2020 offseason
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the longest Badgers men's hockey offseason in 51 years. Here's what the State Journal has covered since the 2019-20 season ended.
Alex Turcotte, the fifth overall pick in the 2019 NHL, draft agreed to terms Wednesday with the Los Angeles Kings on an entry-level contract that'll start next season.
Badgers men's hockey sophomore K'Andre Miller signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the New York Rangers that starts next season, capfriendly.com reported on Friday.
The first-round draft pick of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens led the Big Ten in scoring this season.
DSean hooghe had 26 goals and 56 points in 102 career games for the Badgers.
Former Badgers men's hockey center Alex Turcotte signed a pro contract and went to California just as North American sports were being halted because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The New York Rangers and the NHL denounced the directing of racist slurs at K'Andre Miller during a Zoom video chat promoted by the pro team Friday.
The Badgers were one of around 15 teams to contact goalie Robbie Beydoun after he entered the NCAA transfer portal in the days following the end of the season.
De Saint Phalle was a second-team selection, and Stange and Stoever were members of the third team.
Sophomore wing Roman Ahcan, who started his collegiate career as a fourth-line grinder, was second on the team with 14 goals and led the Badgers in plus/minus at plus-7.
Right wing Cole Caufield, who led the league scoring race with 24 points in 24 games, became UW's seventh player to be named the top freshman in either the Big Ten or Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Cole Caufield, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, wants to be counted on for more than his goal-scoring prowess.
Badgers men's hockey captain Wyatt Kalynuk said he'll have a decision in the next 30 days on whether he'll return to the Badgers for his senior season.
Sources said Brad Traviolia, who oversaw men's hockey as part of his responsibilities with the Big Ten since 2015, departed at the end of April.
Ty Emberson, a defenseman who's played two seasons with the Badgers, will have three senior alternate captains with him in the leadership group: forwards Tarek Baker and Ty Pelton-Byce and defenseman Tyler Inamoto.
A Madison native, Andringa was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in December 2017. He stopped chemotherapy treatment in early May.
A Madison native, Andringa was remembered as an incredible athlete but gained friendship, those close to him said, for a selfless nature and an infectious personality.
No-shows — the percentage of tickets that were distributed but unused — have been trending higher over the 14 seasons covered by available data.
K'Andre Miller said it took months to "find the words to express my frustration and anger" over being subjected to racist slurs in an online chat.
Previously, college games tied after 60 minutes went to a five-minute, sudden-death overtime of 5-on-5 play.
Luneau made a non-binding oral commitment to play for the Badgers starting in 2022 but reportedly signed with a QMJHL team Friday after being drafted.
A UW spokesman said Thursday that all 14 of the coaches whose contracts are typically considered by the Athletic Board in spring meetings were extended by a year.
The Badgers now are scheduled to open against Michigan Tech at the Kohl Center.
Of 16 former Badgers players who skated at the NHL level in the 2019-20 regular season, 12 were on rosters for camps ahead of the Aug. 1 return to play.
The Philadelphia Flyers goalie is one of 12 former Badgers players who'll chase the Stanley Cup amid restrictions to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The event traditionally serves as an evaluation for the World Junior Championship that starts in December.
Former Badgers men's hockey captain Wyatt Kalynuk has signed a two-year contract with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks that carries a $925,000 average annual salary at the NHL level.
Madison native Mick Messner plans to continue his hockey career at Merrimack after departing the University of Wisconsin through the NCAA transfer portal.
Since returning to campus this summer and starting to undergo testing for the coronavirus, Badgers men's hockey players have started conditioning and weight training regimens.
The move continues a tumultuous period at what historically has been a position of strength for the Badgers.
The Eagle River native is about to enter his second season with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.
College teams were able to make scholarship offers to the left-handed defenseman starting Aug. 1, and Jugnauth picked the Badgers less than two weeks later.
Pavelski, already the NHL playoff goal-scoring leader among former Badgers players, recorded a hat trick with his third goal of the game with 11.9 seconds left Sunday to force overtime.
Ramsey said he also had heard from New Hampshire, Colorado College and Denver this month but UW made the only offer so far.
Fink is going to camp with the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Brooks Bandits in September but also could play another season with the Northern Alberta X-treme in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.
While the Division I men's committee opted to give teams only a mild amount of credit for an overtime victory, women's and Division III levels will go heavier.
Coach Tony Granato said there's good reason for his team to take a patient approach to both the start of practice and the wait for a clear direction on when the season will begin amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Football and men's hockey are the only two sports pausing activities due to test results, per a UW official.
Granato said he couldn't confirm how many members of the Badgers men's hockey team had tested positive for COVID-19 but said there was a "spike, just like what's going on in our community."
The 83 athletes who have tested positive represent more than 11% of Badgers athletes on campus.
Granato joined Jerry York, Dean Blais and Jenny Potter in the Class of 2020.
"You don't think of things that you did," Tony Granato said. "You think of the people that were around you that helped you have so much fun in the game of hockey."
Joe Pavelski's Dallas Stars and Ryan McDonagh's Tampa Bay Lightning have made it through the bubble to the NHL championship series.
Cole Caufield said in March that he would return for a second season with the Badgers, but the start of the NCAA schedule has been delayed.
Former Badger Ryan McDonagh's Tampa Bay Lightning won the NHL championship by defeating the Dallas Stars on Monday.
Sophomores Cole Caufield, Owen Lindmark and freshman Sam Stange will take part in the event to help select the team for the World Junior Championship.
Cole Caufield led the Badgers in scoring last season and should be a focal point of the team's offense in a delayed 2020-21 campaign.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced changes in the locker room layout, how many players are there at the same time and will make for new travel plans.
He won't be heading onto the stage as a first-round pick but Holloway will get to experience the event with his family.
It was the third straight season that a Badgers men's hockey player has been selected in the first round of the NHL draft, a feat that had never happened before.
The Badgers men's hockey season will open as soon as Nov. 13, a delay of about six weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also include four non-conference games against Arizona State.
Forward Sam Stange's selection made it 23 straight years that the Badgers have had a player picked on the second day of the draft.
Mike Emrick announced his retirement from a Hall of Fame play-by-play career after calling more than 3,750 pro and Olympic hockey games.
Hockey Canada is considering bringing its prospects to Alberta for a camp that could start before the Badgers are scheduled to open their season, according to a report.
The Badgers men's hockey team will join the women's hockey team in playing home games in the 8-year-old venue adjacent to the Kohl Center.
Defenseman Corson Ceulemans got an "A" grade from NHL Central Scouting.
The first national rankings of the NCAA men's hockey season are out, and the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team has work to do to impre…
Holloway's sophomore season with the Badgers is on track to begin Nov. 13. Canada's selection camp opens Nov. 16.
Having a start date to look forward to has reinvigorated defenseman Anthony Kehrer and his UW teammates.
In this Series
- 11 updates