The new format for the Hockey East playoffs is set to begin in 2022 and will look similar to what fans witnessed earlier this year, which saw Northeastern University (women’s postseason champions) and UMass Amherst (men’s postseason champions) capture their respective tournament.
“This new format for the Hockey East Tournament gives all of our student-athletes the chance to compete for a championship, which is undoubtedly the most exciting part of the season,” Hockey East Commissioner Steve Metcalf said via today’s release from the conference. “Hockey East is the most competitive conference in college hockey, top to bottom, and this new format will highlight the importance of every game during the season for players and fans alike.”
The 2022 Hockey East women’s postseason tournament will feature all 10 teams for the first time in conference history — the tournament will begin next February 23, 2022, with a pair of opening-round contests, which will be hosted by the seventh and eighth seeds. A few weeks later, the men’s league will begin its postseason with a trio of opening-round tilts with the sixth, seventh, and eighth seed teams serving as the hosts.
It’s going to be a VERY rainy day here in Massachusetts so it is probably best for everyone to stay inside and watch Netflix, right?
Let’s kick-start your day with a brand new ‘Daily Noontime,’ beginning with some news about Cam Newton and our hometown New England Patriots.
As of now, it seems possible that Patriots fans could see Cam Newton on the field next Sunday when the Patriots host the Denver Broncos, but as the team’s head coach Bill Belichick noted during his weekly radio appearance with WEEI‘s “Ordway, Merloni &Fauria,“ the veteran signal-caller “would have to go through medical clearance” before being allowed to rejoin his teammates on the practice field.
Newton is one of four Patriots to have tested positive for the coronavirus, but according to a few reports this morning, including PatriotsWire, it seems likely that the 2015 National Football League (NFL) quarterback will be back in the huddle at some point this week, which should be considered good news for the Patriots. Additionally, fans should expect Stephon Gilmore back on the field, too – we certainly need his help on defense!
Sticking with the football theme, the NFL will be testing players and coaches on game days, along with “some other employees of each team,” as noted in Kevin Seifert‘s piece on ESPN.com, which was posted late last night. Seifert also noted a few more tweaks to the league’s update Covid-19 protocols, which include everyone wearing masks during walk-through practices to coaches having to wear either masks or double-layered gaiters during games.
Boston concluded its 60-game season with a 24-36 mark, which was good for a fifth-place finish in the American League East. The Baltimore Orioles, who have previously occupied the last spot in the division in previous seasons, finished fourth this year with an overall record of 25-35.
One month after announcing its 2020 season had been canceled, the University of Massachusetts has decided to reverse course and allow its football team an opportunity to play some games this fall, beginning as soon as next month.
The decision to return to the gridiron was announced earlier today and was based on the program’s “stringent COVID-19 safety protocols and rigorous testing regimen,” which has been in place since the student-athletes returned to the Amherst campus in June. Additionally, the school – and yes, the program, too – watched other schools and conferences announce they would be returning to the field over the past few weeks after initially deciding to cancel their respective season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
UMass has administered more than 1,800 coronavirus tests over the past 13 weeks with just two tests coming back positive. The school plans to continue testing its student-athletes, coaches, and staff members multiple times per week, and has the capacity to ramp up testing if needed to “meet additional opponent requirements in order to play games, if necessary.”
Bell would continue by adding that he and the program “are grateful to our campus leadership for supporting academic and competitive opportunities for our student-athletes and staff to do what they love in a safe manner.”
UMass was scheduled to compete against 12 teams this fall, but the expectation is their new schedule will consist of fewer teams. Dates and opponents will be announced at a later date and time, and the school will not permit fans at McGuirk Alumni Stadium this fall.
As we continue to inch closer to July and August, the thought of college football seems to be on the minds of many these days, including the University of Massachusetts‘ Walt Bell.
Bell, who is entering his second season as the head coach of the Minutemen, seems optimistic for a season to occur this fall, despite so many questions swirling around the health and safety of both coaches and student-athletes.
Indeed, there will be football games played somewhere this fall, but will they occur in states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, which have been impacted by the coronavirus (Covid-19), remains an unknown?
Bell did say that games will be played in Florida and Georgia, which certainly seems likely, especially after hearing Governor Ron DeSantis tell reporters last month that high school football fans “should absolutely assume” a season will happen later this year.
As of now, Bell and the Minutemen will keep their focus on staying connected through Zoom and FaceTime while thinking optimistically about the team’s season-opener against the University of Connecticut.