Jaunuary 28, 2022 | NEWS | By Michael Braithwaite

Colorado College announced the postponement of a hockey series versus #3 ranked Western Michigan last weekend due to “COVID-19 protocols within the Colorado College hockey program,” as stated in a press release issued by the college three days before the first game was to be played. The series will now take place on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 at Ed Robson Arena.

This postponement came amidst a larger wave of COVID-19 postponements within the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), which saw a total of three different weekend contests postponed due to pandemic protocols within the programs of CC, North Dakota, and St. Cloud State.

CC Athletic Director Lesley Irvine shed some more light on the situation, illustrating that the decision had to be made in compliance with NCHC guidelines.

“[Due to NCHC policies], you need a certain number of available student-athletes,” Irvine said. “Based on the impact of COVID-19 protocol for us, we fell below that number.”

Irvine revealed that the NCHC requirement of the minimum number of skaters available for a game is around 15, indicating that at least half of CC’s 28-man roster was unavailable for the series.

Moreover, the college’s main reason for the postponement being “due to COVID-19 protocols” indicates that the majority of the players unavailable for the matchup either tested positive for the virus or were identified as having a close contact with someone who had done so.

According to CC’s new COVID-19 protocols, only those who have not been fully vaccinated – meaning that they are either not vaccinated against COVID-19 or have not yet received their booster and are eligible to do so – would have to isolate or quarantine if they were deemed a close contact with another individual who tested positive.

As reported by The Gazette at the beginning of January, many players on CC’s hockey team have been reluctant to get their COVID-19 booster shots, citing concerns about the link between vaccinations and heart problems in young men.

This reluctance by players to get fully vaccinated has massive ramifications for the hockey team, as one potential exposure to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 could force unvaccinated players into isolation or quarantine, possibly leading to more postponed games in the future if players remain unwilling to get fully vaccinated.

No hockey players were available for comment.

Irvine and the rest of the athletic department, however, remain confident that this will be an isolated incident and that the team will still be able to train and compete at a high level, despite any potential COVID-19 related setbacks they may encounter.

“We remain committed to educating our students and our student-athletes about what the [COVID-19] policies are, and we want to make sure we can help get their questions answered,” Irvine said.

The coaching staff did not respond to a request for comment.

The Tigers are set to play Omaha at Ed Robson Arena this Friday and Saturday.

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