The Arizona State men’s hockey team on Tuesday reached an agreement to join the Big Ten conference for this year only in order to play a 28-game season.
The Sun Devils will play four road games against each Big Ten hockey squad, and the season could begin as early as Nov. 13.
ASU won’t be eligible to take part in the Big Ten Tournament.
“With the national trend of athletic conferences transitioning their schedules to conference only, several of our programs are directly affected and maybe none more than our hockey program as an independent,” said ASU vice president for university athletics Ray Anderson in a press release. “We want to thank the Big Ten, commissioner Kevin Warren, and the university presidents and athletic directors for lending a hand and coordinating a scheduling arrangement for this season.”
The Big Ten men’s hockey conference includes seven teams: Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.
Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State, along with ASU, finished last season in the top-15 USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
According to Arizona State’s announcement, the Sun Devils have agreed to Big Ten health protocols that include daily antigen testing and cardiac screening.
“The 2020-21 hockey season builds on the rich traditions of Big Ten Hockey and brings new competitive opportunities to the conference with the Arizona State University scheduling agreement,” said Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren. “As our teams return to competition, we will continue to keep the health and safety of our student-athletes at the forefront of our decisions.”
A detailed schedule will be released at a later date.
“We are obviously thrilled to partner with the Big Ten on this scheduling arrangement coming out of such a difficult and challenging last six months,” said Sun Devils head coach Greg Powers in a statement. “We are looking forward to the challenge presented in front of us and making all Sun Devils proud. We can’t thank the Big Ten’s coaches and administrators enough for including us as an independent so our student-athletes can share a meaningful season with theirs.”