Positive COVID-19 cases within tier-one personnel of Notre Dame men’s hockey forced the Fighting Irish, set to play No. 2 Boston College on Saturday, to withdraw from the NCAA Tournament. Since the team replacement deadline has passed, the game is ruled a no-contest, and BC advances to the Regional Final on Sunday to take on the winner of Boston University versus St. Cloud State.
College Hockey News first broke the news on Twitter. At 1 p.m. on Thursday, the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee confirmed that the Fighting Irish would have to forfeit the match.
“The NCAA and the Division I Men’s Hockey Committee regret that, because of COVID-19 protocols, Notre Dame’s student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to play in a tournament in which they earned the right to participate,” the committee’s statement read. “This decision was made in consultation with the Albany County Public Health Department and the NCAA Medical Advisory Group. Because of privacy issues, we cannot provide further details.”
According to the predetermined guidelines by the NCAA selection committee, a team can only be replaced if it withdraws within the first 24 hours of when the bracket is released. Any time after that, the opposing team will automatically advance, and there will be no change to its seeding. The bracket was released at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Notre Dame was a late addition to the NCAA Tournament. St. Lawrence, the winner of the ECAC Hockey Tournament, was forced to relinquish its automatic bid after its head coach tested positive for COVID-19, offering the Fighting Irish a chance to appear on the national stage.
BC Athletics echoed the Division I Men’s Hockey Committee in a press release.
The Eagles will now have one more day to rest before they challenge the winner of No. 2 St. Cloud State (17-10-0) and No. 3 BU (10-4-1) on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor