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St. Cloud State hockey players stand for the National Anthem before the game against Colorado College at the Broadmoor World Arena Colorado Springs on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. (Photo by Kelsey Brunner/The Gazette)

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference has some time on its side — and it’s using it.

No announcement has come regarding the eight-team, Colorado Springs-based league’s plans for competition as the country struggles to contain COVID-19 and October looms.

“We are optimistic, hopeful, that we will be playing hockey during the 2020-21 season,” commissioner Josh Fenton said. “We are working on plans to determine what that start date is.

“We don’t have anything definitive as of yet. We’re certainly looking at delayed-start type of situations for the season.”

Fenton said he’s in weekly — at least — conversations with athletic directors, plus head coaches, other commissioners and student athlete leadership groups.

Even as leagues around the country adjust their schedules drastically, the only dates that have been removed from Colorado College’s calendar are a series against Princeton in November. The Ivy League schools announced they won’t compete until at least Jan. 1.

The Tigers’ regular season is scheduled to start Oct. 9.

Rumors circulated recently that The Broadmoor World Arena would not host its final season of CC hockey before the team moves to a new on-campus facility until 2021 at the earliest.

Athletic Director Lesley Irvine acknowledged the rumor and said there’s been a “strong spirit of collaborating” with The Broadmoor World Arena on potential plans.

“Any information, I think, that’s coming out of the World Arena is based on scenarios that are being considered,” Irvine said. “Nothing is official and that was literally just a scenario that’s being put out there.

“At the end of the day, clearly there’s been no public statement. The moment a decision is made, we turn to the NCHC to lead that kind of official announcement.”

The usual weighty issues, such as schedule balance, might reasonably have to take a backseat to having some semblance of a season.

The postseason and who qualifies for the NCAA Tournament, if it happens, are likely to be affected. Fenton said the sport would “generally support” models that push the tournament back and allow for extension of the regular season, though it could be a while until a decision is announced.

In meetings, “The tone has been, ‘Let’s stay focused on what we’re here to do, and that’s to make sure that we can try to provide a season to a group of student-athletes that deserve it,’” Fenton said.

“We are coming up on a point here ... where we’ll obviously need to say something officially about what the first part of that season may look like,” Fenton said, calling that time the “near future.”

“We may have to make an adjustment as we get further into the fall or the early winter based upon the circumstances of the virus and what’s happening on each of our campuses.

“It’s hard to say, ‘Hey, by this date we’re going to have this decision,’ because so much changes week to week.”

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