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W1 Minot State focused on another national tournament bid


By Luke Gamble


The Minot State women’s hockey team is 4-0 after a short fall season.

Now, they’re turning their focus to making another run at the national tournament. The Beavers feel consistency on both ends will be key to get them there.

“We have to put in the work, you’re on going to get out of it what you put into it and this team we work really hard,” said forward Samijo Henry. “That’s what we want to do, we want to create our own identity for us and we want to get there. We been there a couple times in the past so that’s my motivation and probably the rest of the girls as well.

“A lot of determination and a lot of communication, really being there for each one of our teammates, especially this year among COVID,” adds defense man Kenzie Heide. “Being there every step of the way and really trying to build off one another is going to be key.”

The Beavers return to the ice on January 15

(Originally published at

M1 Arizona tries to find a new routine during pandemic

From Arizona Daily Star

By Sebastian Janik


This time of the year, the University of Arizona’s club hockey team is typically skating on the ice and bonding in the locker room. Hugging and dog-piling after goals Singing along to Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” after every victory.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Tucson Arena has gone silent. Coach Chad Berman and his 30 players must wait until January or February for their season to start. While they wait, the Wildcats have been exercising in their backyards, connecting digitally, meeting in small groups and rollerblading.

Their goal: To be ready to push for a national championship in the 2020-21 season. Whenever it happens.

Put on ice

On Feb. 29, the Wildcats beat ASU 3-1 to capture their third consecutive Cactus Cup and were the Western Collegiate Hockey League champions for the second straight year.

Berman called it “my last great emotion” of the season.

“I was hurting my hand smacking the glass,” he said.

Following the team’s win, Queen’s “We Are the Champions” blared throughout the arena as the team skated with the Cactus Cup trophy high above their heads.

The Wildcats were 23-6 and ranked eighth in the nation in March, when all activity on the UA campus was shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director of Campus Recreation Troy Vaughn phoned Berman to deliver the news that the hockey season would be ending. He called it distressing and depressing.

On March 12, the American Collegiate Hockey Association canceled its national tournament.

The Wildcats’ final meeting in their locker room was difficult and upsetting. The seniors playing in their final semester shed tears and said some parting words.

“I wanted to fall into a corner and not be seen,” hockey coordinator Tanner Harris said.

The Wildcats left the locker room unsure of when they will return.

New beginnings

In late September, Berman, Harris and team captain Anthony Cusanelli turned the lights back on. The words on the locker-room walls — “Those who stay will be champions” and “Greatness is a daily habit” — were still there. The three men assigned locker stalls for the upcoming season, laid out new workout clothes and hung jerseys — a rite of fall that typically heralds the start of practices.

“I got a chill to see the captain in the locker room,” Berman said, “but it was kind of torture and a tease, a bittersweet mixture of preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.”

On Oct. 16, players returned. They entered the locker room in groups of five or less and held their first outdoor group workout. In the five-plus weeks since then, they’ve been holding socially distanced group workouts at Sitton Field on the UA campus.

It’s a small step toward returning to normal.

“I’m itching to get back on the ice,” Marshall said.

For most players, it’s been eight months.

Marshall, an assistant captain who is from St. Charles, Illinois, spent the Tucson summer working out in his backyard using cinder blocks and bricks. Matthew Hohl, a junior defenseman from Fenton, Missouri, skated about 15 times while home during the summer but has not returned to the ice since July.

Cusanelli, who is from Holmdel, New Jersey, skated exactly once.

Still, all three reported back to the team last month in good shape. Berman provided his players with workout plans and meal suggestions for those who needed to gain or lose weight. Hohl, for example, was able to gain strength and put on 20 pounds.

Players may be happy with their offseason gains, but “nothing compares to conditioning on the ice,” Marshall said.

Training for hockey without being able to skate is difficult. Explosiveness, agility and strength in the hips and legs are critical to being prepared to skate, players said. The best way to build those muscles: skating, which the Wildcats are unable to do as a team.

The team is hoping to skate together sometime in January, when — or if — the ice surface returns to Tucson Arena.

“It is going to be intense and I am excited,” Hohl said, “but I wouldn’t mind seeing a few guys puke.”

‘I wish it was easier’

While they wait, the Wildcats share Snapchat memories of their road trips to remember the good times. They say they miss playing ping-pong, kicking around a soccer ball and blaring music in the locker room.

And the ice? They miss that most of all. It’s where the Wildcats say they’re the most comfortable. Cold air envelopes the rink. Whistles sound. Pucks slam against the boards and skates feverishly crunch on the playing surface.

The Wildcats’ returning players have managed to stay close despite their physical separation. Integrating the incoming freshmen has been a challenge.

As captain, Cusanelli has done what he can to make the new Wildcats feel welcome. It’s hard, however, when there are no social events, pool parties or Topgolf trips to build team chemistry.

“We want to get together, but it’s tougher,” Cusanelli said. “I wish it was easier.”

Hoping for January

Berman is preparing to play a shortened schedule starting in January or early February.

But there’s a pandemic going on, and a return to the ice is not a given.

What is certain, however, is that the Wildcats’ players will have a new appreciation for the sport they love. Hohl said the pandemic has been a reminder of the little things in life that we all may take for granted.

“It is a-you-don’t-know-what-you-have-until-it’s-gone type feeling,” he said. “But when I do play hockey again, I’ll be prepared to go through a wall.”

(Originally published at

Wale Part of Pioneering Group of Ladyjacks

From Swift Current Online

By Corey Atkinson


In any normal hockey season, former Swift Current Wildcat Crystal Wale would be able to go to a place like Dakota College at Bottineau and be able to come back home for weekends or have family come down to see her play.

It is, after all, only about a five-hour drive from her hometown in Moose Jaw to Bottineau.

But while being tantalizingly close to home geographically while pursuing post-secondary schooling and hockey, the 18-year-old Wale is helping to start a women’s hockey tradition at the school, which is putting a women’s team on the ice for the first time.

Last weekend was the Ladyjacks’ first-ever regular-season games with the Dakota College at Bottineau, as they play in the American Collegiate Hockey Conference Division 2. Wale had spent the last three seasons with Swift Current of the Saskatchewan Female U18 AAA Hockey League.

“I wasn’t planning on playing hockey, but once the recruiter called me, I got really excited, and the expenses weren’t too much of a difference if I’d stayed in Sask and not played hockey, and I really did want to play hockey after (U18),” Wale said.

Wale recorded 16 goals and 24 assists in 86 regular-season games with Swift Current.

Wale is taking nursing at the school in her class time. The Ladyjacks lost a close couple of games at North Dakota State.

“We have a lot of work to do. But the team played very well last weekend, given the limited time we’ve been together… We lost our first game 2-0 and lost the second game in overtime 4-3,” she said. “Which, honestly, I didn’t think that was that bad at all with the circumstances that we’ve only been together for a few months and these other teams have been playing together for years and practicing a lot longer than we have.”

Wale said the Ladyjacks are getting a lot closer and feels they're going to have a good season.

With the pandemic, though, it’s a bit different.

“When we go back to Canada, we have to quarantine for two weeks no matter what,” she said. “It’s pretty difficult not having my family here with me, especially not being at my first game, and not being able to come to my games no matter what. The support of my family has gotten me far and my parents are very supportive with the decisions I make. I’m hoping the borders will open up at some time.”

Games are going to be live-streamed, so they will be able to watch her, as she plays against Minot State University this weekend in non-league games.

“Our team and North Dakota State University (in Fargo) are the only teams in our league that are playing right now,” she said. “We’re just playing Minot next weekend just to get some games in and more practice, and the weekend after that we play North Dakota State University two more times.”

(Originally published at

Bulldogs Extinguish Flames in Home Sweep


By Carly Costello


ADRIAN, Mich.--The Adrian College American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division 1 men's hockey team officially opened its 2020-21 schedule with a convincing sweep of visiting Liberty University last week in Arrington Ice Arena. The Bulldogs and Flames were the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the ACHA tournament last season before the COVID-19 virus canceled the championship event in Dallas, Texas.

As the fall semester began, the pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the ACHA schedule as most of the membership across the nation paused its seasons. Adrian defeated the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League in a pair of exhibition contests on Oct. 16 (2-0) and Oct. 17 (5-2), but the Bulldogs couldn't drop the puck for real until Liberty came to town on Nov. 12 and 13. The result was a pair of impressive wins for the Bulldogs (2-0 overall) over the Flames (1-2), 5-2 and 7-0, avenging their two losses from 2019-20 at the hands of LU. 

Tyler Fyfe got things started on Thursday night for the 'Dawgs, notching a power-play goal at the 5:17 mark of the second frame. Chris Donaldson and Sheldon Nolan would assist. Matteo DiGiulio would add another power-play tally four minutes later with his first goal as a Bulldog. Nolan would be awarded the lone assist. DiGiulio would net another at the 12:05 mark of the second with another power-play goal. His second of the night would be assisted by Brenden Stanko and Tyler Fyfe. Liberty would cut the lead down to 3-1 before the end of the second.

Fyfe would notch his second of the game at the 2:46 mark of the second frame after a Liberty goal to cut things to 3-2. Fyfe's second would be assisted by Dan Stone. Henrik Overvall would add an empty netter as the time ran out for insurance and the 'Dawgs would skate away with a 5-2 win with Michael Barrett picking up the "W" in net.

The two teams would face off once again on Friday afternoon at Arrington. Mike Finger would kick things off with a goal at the 5:49 mark of the first frame. Stanko would add the assist.

Dominic Moore wasted little time getting the Dawgs on the board once again 30 seconds into the second frame. Sam Spaedt and Stanko would assist. Connor Smith would catch a beauty of a stretch pass from Nolan for his first of the season at the 9:38 mark of the second. Spaedt would add another breakaway goal at the 15:50 mark of the second with an assist from Finger. After two, the 'Dawgs held a daunting 4-0 lead.

Smith would add his second of the night at the 6:36 mark with assists from Stanko and Nolan. Moore would also add his second of the night in the third period on the power-play. Manny Silverio would be awarded the lone assist. Stanko would add a goal of his own to close out the scoring for the night at the 15:47 mark. Nolan and Finger would assist.

A seven-goal final margin would favor the 'Dawgs with Barrett picking up another win and a shutout in net.

(Originally published at


TROY, Mich. (November 13, 2020) – SpaceX's next astronaut flight for NASA is "go" for launch this weekend and it will have an ACHA connection on board.


One of the four astronauts scheduled to lift off at 7:49 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 14th from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida (weather permitting) is Col. Michael S. Hopkins, United States Air Force.  Col. Hopkins is the father of two ACHA players:  Ryan Hopkins, who currently plays on the M3 University of Michigan, and Lucas Hopkins, a forward on the University of Notre Dame’s M3 team.


Launching on board the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will be NASA astronauts Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The four-person crew will spend about 8.5 hours flying to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will spend the next six months on the ISS.


Col. Hopkins will be bringing an ACHA jersey, shirt and pins into space.  While in space, he will take a photo of the items in front of the ISS’ big window that looks down at the Earth.  Upon his return to Earth, the ACHA items will be presented by Col. Hopkins to the ACHA along with a photo and signed certificate detailing how long the items were in space and how many miles they travelled orbiting the Earth.


“I want to say thank you to the ACHA for being a great organization,” said Col. Hopkins.  “My sons Ryan and Lucas absolutely love being able to play hockey in college at such a competitive level.  I know first-hand the many positive experiences that come from being a collegiate student athlete and I’m so impressed with the young men and women of the ACHA that do it simply for the love of the game.”


Col. Hopkins added “When I flew last time in 2013/2014, I was able to watch the boys play hockey live while on orbit and I’m hoping to do the same thing this time.”


For further information, please contact ACHA Executive Director Craig Barnett at

Flicek providing points and leadership for unbeaten UMary

From Bismarck Tribune

By Scooter Pursley


Alex Flicek’s college hockey career has been one strange ride, none stranger than the last eight months.

The University of Mary junior forward is adding to program-leading totals in goals (79) and assists (63) in 109 career games.

The Marauders are 89-14-3-4 since stepping onto the ice for the first time. They won 39 games in each of the last two seasons, cementing their place among the elite American Collegiate Hockey Conference Division II programs.

Flicek, a Century High product, has nine goals and 10 assists to help the Marauders get off to a 10-0-0-2 this season heading into another showdown with Division I University of Jamestown tonight in Mandan.

“We got the new guys in and got them acclimated and helped them figure things out,” Flicek said of the early part of the season. “We’re still trying to figure out who we are as a team.”

U-Mary coach Dan Huntley said his job is to keep the newcomers and veterans focused on the ultimate prize regardless of the detours.

“The biggest thing as a coach is to try keep them motivated and seeing the big picture,” Huntley said. “The big picture was easy the first year, we can’t go. It’s a 100-game process.

“We’re so lucky to be playing right now. There are teams that have canceled their seasons that were on our schedule. These guys come to the rink every day. Alex has been an unbelievable leader for us. Being able to do all this stuff in front of family and friends, even watching online, is easier to do when you’re at home.”

Flicek is one of seven U-Mary players from Bismarck. There are two from Dickinson on the roster and one each from Mandan and Williston. Huntley said local ties have made it easier for U-Mary to handle social distancing and isolation, both crucial to keeping the season alive.

“They still get to see their families on a consistent basis and that helps them get through all of this other stuff,” Huntley said.

Including disappointment.

Flicek knew his freshman season was headed for a premature ending as U-Mary was not eligible for the playoffs. He still notched 36 goals and 20 assists.

Flicek’s sophomore season, on a team with legitimate national championship hopes, ended prematurely when COVID-19 struck in March and wiped out the national tournament that the Marauders had qualified for. Flicek had 34 goals and 33 assists but there was no closure to the season.

“We knew coming in it was going to be a two-year process, the first year not being able to play,” Flicek said. “Not being able to play last year is just burning in us. We want to play.”

Flicek’s junior season has been played under a COVID-19 cloud. The team, again a national championship contender, plays in empty arenas as fans aren’t allowed in. And there is no guarantee that another national tournament won’t be wiped out by the pandemic.

“With no fans, it takes away energy that we get from the fans. We just have to find that in ourselves. No matter what, when it comes down to the end of the year it has to be there,” Flicek said.

In addition to school and practice and games, the current season is presenting challenges never heard of before.

“You go week to week and take every game as it comes. You come out and work hard and, hopefully, the next day it will be the same thing,” Flicek said.

The national tournament, originally scheduled for Boston, will need to find a new site. The city will not be able to host the tournament for virus-related reasons. As a backup plan, several regional sites are looking at potentially hosting nationals, but nothing yet has been determined. Regardless of where it ends up, it’s up to the Marauders themselves -- on and off the ice -- to get there.

 “They have to give up their social life, that’s basically what we’re asking them to do,” Huntley said. “They’re committed to our season. They have to put that on a pedestal higher than their families and friends. If they can do that and we can stay healthy, we’re going to be a tram standing at the end of the year. If we don’t and get sick in March or April because we got lax in our ability to stay disciplined, we’re not going to have a chance to win a national tournament.”

For the time being, the title chase continues tonight against Jamestown at Starion Sports Complex. Ironically, the home team has never won a game between the teams.

“I don’t know what the curse is. Who knows?” Huntley said. “We’re both evenly matched.”

(Originally published at

M2 Cincinnati waits out pandemic

From The News Record

By Logan Lusk


Normally at this point in the year, the University of Cincinnati's Ice (UC) Hockey Club would be in mid-season, practicing most weekdays and playing games in a rink at the SportsPlus facility every weekend. The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, changed that.

Players and organizational members alike have sought ways to play elsewhere in Ohio. George Zimmerer, president of the Ice Hockey Club was one such member. Playing over in Columbus, however, Zimmerer acquired something beyond staying in shape.

Zimmerer tested positive for COVID-19. After his coach in Columbus tested positive, Zimmerer and his teammates undertook rapid tests. When Zimmerer tested positive, he took another formal test at UC, where his diagnosis was confirmed.

"I came back to the house that I grew up in," Zimmerer said. "I'm quarantining here so that I don't get my roommates sick. So, it sucks, but you got to get through it."

Zimmerer is quarantining in his hometown of Medina, Ohio, south of Cleveland. He says hockey is a much bigger deal there than in Cincinnati. After getting his first pair of skates at the age of three, Zimmerer has never looked back.

He won't be cleared to leave quarantine until Nov. 9, when he'll have to take another test. As of now, Zimmerer says he's asymptomatic.

The Hockey Club typically plays about thirty games a season as a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) before potentially progressing to regional and even national competitions.

Concerning last year, Zimmerer spoke fondly of his memories as the club won their southeast regional bouts, allowing them to be one of the three regional teams to compete in the national tournament of the ACHA. However, the pandemic hit before nationals could take place.

"[Nationals] got canceled about a week before they were supposed to happen," Zimmerer said. "It sucked for us because we really thought we had a good chance. Then, we really thought we were going to be good this year, but again, stinks we're not able to play this semester."

According to Zimmerer, there are 200 teams in the ACHA, but only 16 are eligible to play in the national competition every year.

Coincidingly, winning regionals and making it into nationals, along with some of the travel opportunities to Florida and Las Vegas all in his freshman year, are some of Zimmerer's favorite memories so far with the club.

Before he joined the team, UC's Ice Hockey Club also made nationals in 2018, where they made it all way to the final four before succumbing to Florida Gulf Coast, who went on to win the tournament.

One might think a club that's continually proved itself a competitor would be considered varsity by its university—especially accounting for how several players have found their way into various professional minor leagues. However, that's not the case with the Ice Hockey Club.

"It's all about funding," Zimmerer said. "We're really trying to work on it with the school to be considered a varsity sport but still play in the ACHA. We've worked with club sports and the varsity programs. We get some benefits that the varsity programs get, like more funding."

According to Zimmerer, an opportunity to face some NCAA Division One opponents in friendly competition is supposed to be provided this year.

Zimmerer claims that making the hockey club a varsity program at UC is one of his ultimate goals during his time as president, an ambitious task for a sophomore majoring in finance. As president, he manages the club's budget and spending, garnering some valuable experience along the way. Collecting said the financial experience was a big part of Zimmerer's decision to become president of the Ice Hockey Club.

"They needed someone to step up, and I've liked to be a leader my whole life," he said. "The last president did an amazing job for the team so I just kind of learned from him, and he taught me well."

President or not, being a member of the Ice Hockey Club requires no small amount of dedication. The team usually gets together for either practices or gamedays six days out of the week.

With only 60 NCAA Division One hockey programs in the country, the club and others across the ACHA get some great talent that comes their way, according to Zimmerer. Players remain competitive in a sport they've played much of their lives.

Like many programs across the country, the inability to play this semester has left many players feeling shortchanged. Most notably, the seniors who've had their final years stripped away from them.

Akin to how senior athletes in the NCAA have been offered to extend their eligibility, the hockey club seniors have been offered the same. Although, some players within the club have already taken an extra year to play with the team. Consequently, the extended eligibility will not be offered to them, spelling the end of the line for several people representing the red and black on the ice.

Zimmerer claims he has yet to hear from UC concerning when they will be permitted to return to play, whether that's in the spring semester or even further down the line. Yet, the president remains hopeful for his organization.

"It'll probably go on into the spring and it's going to suck for us," Zimmerer said. "We're still optimistic, see what happens. But, you know, if it doesn't, we'll probably have to wait until next year, unfortunately."

(Originally published at

Former M2 UW Huskies player Minkoff releases memoir

From Roman & Littlefield


Former ACHA M2 University of Washington player and current owner of 83, LLC hockey agency, Ryan Minkoff, has released his official hockey memoir titled “Thin Ice: A Hockey Journey from Unknown to Elite—and the Gift of a Lifetime.”  The foreword was written by Toronto Maple Leafs forward, Travis Boyd, and Minkoff’s book has garnered praise from ESPN's SportsCenter, the Players Tribune, and former and current NHLers.


"From the State of Hockey to the ACHA and Finnish minor leagues, a candid and compelling look into a very unknown side of the hockey world." —John Buccigross, anchor, ESPN's SportsCenter


"Ryan's story and the lessons that can be gleaned from it are relevant to anybody who has ever dreamed of being a professional athlete. Athleticism and talent will take you so far, but ultimately the most indispensable tool one can possess is passion. Ryan's passion comes through strong here and will surely resonate with hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike." —Dan Treadway, editor, The Players' Tribune


"Ryan's frank and fascinating story brought back many memories of playing alongside him and reminded me why hockey is so special." —Jonny Brodzinski, forward, New York Rangers


"[Thin Ice is] more than a hockey book. Minkoff combines his passion and a never-say-die mentality with wit and humor for a great read." —Dan Cloutier, retired ten-year NHL goaltender


Ryan Minkoff was blessed with athleticism, perseverance, and an unquenchable passion for playing hockey. His journey to the pros against lofty odds was, as he says, "unconventional."


Minkoff's love for the game began in Minnesota, the State of Hockey, where his youth and high-school experiences were anything but ordinary. His suitcase always packed, he played for seven different hockey programs in a fourteen-year span. While Minkoff's confidence wavered and was often challenged, his determination and passion stayed strong, and he found his way to the University of Washington to play in the unfamiliar world of ACHA hockey. Despite circumstances such as games in empty arenas starting well after midnight to hitchhiking home after a long road trip, Minkoff not only set records, captained the squad, and ran the club as the president, he also formed strong bonds with his coaches and teammates. Following an illustrious club career, Minkoff landed in the professional ranks of Finland, where—in the midst of nearly crashing a Zamboni, acting as the town's Santa Claus, and sleeping at the rink—he truly discovered his gift of a lifetime in the game of hockey.


“Thin Ice” is an honest, witty, inspirational coming-of-age story. Ryan Minkoff's debut memoir is for anyone who roots for an underdog whose dreams will not fade no matter the obstacles.


You can find the book for purchase at Amazon, 83, LLC, other international retailers.



TROY, Mich. (November 6, 2020) – The American Collegiate Hockey Association, the governing body for non-NCAA college hockey in the United States, announces that due to the ongoing pandemic, each of the five divisions within the ACHA will be implementing certain modifications for the 2020-2021 season.  These modifications are the result of most ACHA members not being able to compete during Fall 2020 but anticipating playing games in Spring 2021 with permission from their respective institutions.

The ACHA has already extended the 2020-2021 regular season when it pushed back the dates for the National Tournament by three weeks from March until April 15-20, 2021.

Here is a breakdown per Division to the Season Modifications developed by our Divisional Commissioners with committee and membership input:

Men’s Division 1

Men’s Division 1 (M1) will invite 20 teams to the National Tournament as usual.  However, no autobids will be handed out in the 2020-2021 season. Rather, for full representation of M1 membership, one team from every M1 conference will be guaranteed a bid to Nationals (as determined by their conference) as well as one independent M1 team, bringing the total number of guaranteed spots to 10 teams.  The remaining ten teams in the field of 20 will be determined by the M1 computer ranking system.

The M1 National Tournament will continue to be same single elimination format as in previous years.  Teams ranked #13 through #20 will compete in a play-in round of games on day one, April 15, 2021, with the day one winners advancing to play the teams ranked #1 through #4 on day two.  Teams ranked #5 through #12 will play on day three.  The day four quarterfinals will consist of the winners from days two and three, followed by two semifinal game on day five.  The ACHA M1 National Championship game between the semifinal winners will be held on April 20, 2021.

Men’s Division 2

Men’s Division 2 (M2) has determined the minimum amount of games needed to qualify for the National Tournament this season will be twelve (12) games.  Further, at least ten (10) of those 12 games must be against M2 teams.

M2 will not utilize computer rankings this season due to fewer non-conference games and travel restrictions throughout the country in accordance with institutional guidelines. Rather, M2 will use ranking committees on a per Region basis, with each committee comprised of seven to nine M2 coaches and administrators from their respective region.  During the Spring 2021 season, there will be four separate ranking periods.  M2 games played in Fall 2020 will count in the rankings.  The last day for M2 Rankings will now be March 14, 2021.

The format for M2 Nationals and M2 Regionals will remain the same as in years past.  The two (2) top ranked teams in each of the four M2 regions will automatically qualify for M2 Nationals.  Teams ranked #3 through #14 in each region will compete in a Regional tournament over three days, with the two winners per Regional qualifying for M2 Nationals, resulting in four teams from each of the four M2 regions having earned a bid to M2 Nationals.

M2 Nationals will consist of 16 teams playing in round robin format in four separate pools for the first three days.  The winner of each of the four pools will move on to single elimination semifinal games on day four of the tournament.  The M2 National Tournament Championship game will be the last of 27 games held over five days from April 16-20, 2021.

Men’s Division 3

Men’s Division 3 (M3) has decided the minimum amount of games needed to qualify for the National Tournament this season will be eight (8) games, which can be played against either M2 or M3 teams.

M3 will not use computer rankings this season.  In its place, M3 will use an eight-person National Ranking committee comprised of two M3 Atlantic region members, two M3 North region members, two M3 Pacific region members, one M3 Independent member, and one M3 Commissioner appointee.  M3 rankings will be issued on a bi-weekly basis beginning on February 3, 2021.  Only games played against M3 teams will count toward rankings and M3 teams must have completed three (3) games in order to be included in the rankings.  Further, M3 games played in Fall 2020 will count for rankings.

The National Ranking committee will select the sixteen (16) teams that will comprise the field at the M3 National Tournament as M3 will not award autobids or conduct regionals during the 2020-2021 season.  The M3 National Tournament will not change from its traditional format where pool play will take place and the top team from each of the four pools will advance to the semifinal round. M3 will complete 27 games over six days from April 15-20, 2021 with a day off between the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.

Women’s Division 1

Women’s Division 1 (W1) has determined the minimum amount of games needed during the 2020-2021 season for W1 teams to qualify for W1 Nationals will be at least nine (9) games played against at least four (4) unique opponents.  W1 will not utilize a computer ranking but will use a coaches committee, the composition of which is yet to be determined, due to the anticipated travel restrictions and fewer non-conference games being played.  Further, W1 has determined that rankings will only consider games played in Spring 2021.

For the W1 National Tournament, the division is following the directive of its membership and implementing a new format for this season and future seasons.  Under the new format, W1 will now have ten teams qualifying for W1 Nationals.  Seeds #3 through #10 will kick the tournament off on day one.  Those teams that lose on day one will have a second chance to chase glory when they face one another on day two.  On day three, the winners from day one and day two will join seeds #1 and #2 in a traditional, single elimination eight-team bracket.  By the time the W1 National Champion is crowned, W1 will have completed 13 games over five days from April 15-19, 2021.

Women’s Division 2

Like W1, Women’s Division 2 (W2) has also decided the minimum amount of games needed during the 2020-2021 season to qualify for the W2 National Tournament will be at least nine (9) games against at least four (4) unique opponents.  W2 has also determined that rankings will only consider games played in Spring 2021.  W2 will not use a computer ranking but will utilize a coaches committee in which all W2 coaches will be encouraged to participate during four (4) ranking periods, beginning in February 2021. The final day for games to count in W2 rankings will be March 28, 2021.

The W2 National Tournament will consist of 21 games played over five (5) days from April 16-20, 2021.  Twelve W2 teams will compete in pool play format with four (4) pools comprised of three (3) teams each.  The top team from each pool will then advance to single elimination format, with semifinals followed by the W2 Championship game.

Tournament Locations

The ACHA Divisional Commissioners are currently working with ACHA staff to identify opportunities to host their respective individual division National Tournaments in locations central to their membership where teams can compete safely within the constraints of any state and local COVID-19 restrictions.  Information regarding the location for the respective division National Tournament will be announced once finalized.

For further information, please contact ACHA Executive Director Craig Barnett at

Pandemic has SIUE on hold

From The Telegraph

By Pete Hayes


Taylor Emerick and his SIUE Cougars hockey club are holding tight to hope that they’ll have a season this school year. It won’t be a normal season, but then what’s normal about 2020?

Maybe 2021 will be better. At least that’s what Emerick hopes.

With their usual schedule already scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Cougars are hoping that plans to return to the ice in January pan out. But as a school-supported club sport, their future lies in the hands of SIUE officials. Perhaps even more than NCAA varsity sports on campus.

“We fall under the auspices of SIUE and the state of Illinois,” Cougars coach and GM Taylor Emerick said. “We get our funding from the school and the state.”

The Illinois Department of Public Health has listed hockey as a high-risk activity. That previously meant automatic season postponement or perhaps even cancellation. But the Illinois High School Association defied the IDPH last week and said it will go on with basketball as previously planned, even though that sport was elevated to high risk.

The IHSA move may have a set a precedent, although connecting the action of the high school association and a college hockey club may be a stretch.

“We normally would have started practices and be getting ready for our first games,” Emerick said. “But we haven’t started to practice yet. We don’t want to endanger our standing or the club’s future.

That means a significant loss of ice time payment to the East Alton Ice Arena, the home ice of the Cougars.

“I know (EAIA officials) are frustrated,” Emerick said. “I don’t blame them. They’re like family.”

In late summer, the Cougars made the decision to postpone the start of the season until the second semester. The American Collegiate Hockey Association made the same choice the following week.

The Cougars play in the Mid-American Collegiate Hockey Association and play in that league usually takes up most of the slots on the schedule. MACHA, as part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association is governed by USA Hockey.

With the postponement of the season, conference games will take up all of those slots. That is, if the season takes place at all.

“The plan is for us all be playing just conference games,” Emerick said. “That’s pretty much all the room we’ll have. Plus, road trips will be cut when possible. With a full roster of players, there’s no way to keep social distance taking a bus to, say, DeKalb and none of the rinks have enough space to fit everybody in at the same time.”

Emerick and co-head coach Nick Edwards are starting their fourth season as the Cougars’ coaches after each playing four seasons at SIUE. As former players and as coaches, they’re well aware of the cost of keeping a college hockey club running. Emerick said the delay in starting the season and reduction of games and practice times will help in that regard.

While SIUE is in a hockey holding pattern, the school’s NCAA-sanctioned varsity sports such as men’s and women’s soccer are practicing as they point toward a second-semester start to their sports. Also, private colleges, such as McKendree University and Maryville University are operating business as usual, at least as close to what can pass for usual.

The ACHA did make an adjustment to the national tournament, pushing it back three weeks to allow more time for rescheduling games. The tournament will take place April 15-20, 2021 in Boston. The 2022 ACHA National Tournament will be held March 10-20, 2022 at the Centene Community Ice Arena in Maryland Heights.

“We have 45 guys on our team who want to play,” Emerick said. “We are staying in touch by Zoom meetings and groups texts.

“Hopefully, we can start practicing as soon as we get back from break, practice a week, then start playing. It’s probably going to be more compact, trying to cram games into a shorter period of time.

“But a lot of games in not much time is better than no games at all. Our fingers are crossed.”

(Originally published at

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