Colorado College and Denver will be shorthanded for Frozen Faceoff as teams begin to arrive in Grand Forks

If a team has to pull out of the tournament at this time because of positive COVID-19 tests, the bracket will not be adjusted.

Ralph Engelstad Arena's ice crew works to install a new center-ice logo for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff, which will begin Friday.

National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams began arriving in Grand Forks on Wednesday, March 10, for the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, but not everyone is bringing a full roster.

According to multiple sources, Colorado College will be noticeably shorthanded for the league's postseason tournament because of players in COVID-19 protocol. It is unclear exactly how many players are missing, but sources say it is more than five.

The Tigers practiced in Ralph Engelstad Arena on Wednesday after their arrival, but Frozen Faceoff practices are closed to the public and media.

Colorado College's final two regular-season games against Denver were wiped out March 1 because of positive COVID-19 tests, contact tracing and quarantining of individuals within Colorado College's program. At the time, athletic director Lesley Irvine said in a release: "We remain optimistic about the chance to play in North Dakota as part of the postseason.”

The seventh-seeded Tigers are expected to play second-seeded St. Cloud State at 2:37 p.m. Friday.


They aren't the only one dealing with COVID-19 issues.

College Hockey News reported that Denver will travel with 16 skaters and three goaltenders, because eight players were left in Denver quarantining in COVID-19 protocol. The fifth-seeded Pioneers are set to arrive in Grand Forks on Thursday and play in a quarterfinal game against fourth-seeded Omaha at 2:37 p.m. Saturday.

All teams are required to go through COVID-19 testing upon arrival, using a similar process as the NCHC Pod in December in Omaha.

COVID-19 testing is being done in the Green Room at ice level in Ralph Engelstad Arena by Sanford Health, Edgewood Healthcare and Legacy Medical.

The coronavirus has interfered with games throughout the college hockey season, but the NCHC managed to complete 94 of its scheduled 96 league games, despite stoppages for COVID-19 positive tests with Colorado College, Denver, Omaha and Minnesota Duluth.

Quarterfinal matchups won't change

At 8 p.m. Tuesday, the quarterfinal matchups were officially locked in.

That means if any team is forced to withdraw because of COVID-19 positive tests upon arrival, the bracket will not be altered. Their opponent will instead get a bye to the next round.

Had a team dropped out before the Tuesday night deadline, teams would have been re-seeded, and the top seed, North Dakota, would have received a bye to the semifinals.


UND, the league's regular-season champion, is set to play eighth-seeded Miami at 7:37 p.m. Friday night in the second quarterfinal.

All four teams scheduled to play Friday -- UND, Miami, Colorado College and St. Cloud State -- are now in Grand Forks.

The four teams scheduled to play quarterfinal games Saturday -- Denver, Minnesota Duluth, Western Michigan and Omaha -- will arrive Thursday.

NCHC Frozen Faceoff

Friday's quarterfinals

(2) St. Cloud State vs. (7) Colorado College, 2:37 p.m. (Midco Sports Network,

(1) North Dakota vs. (8) Miami, 7:37 p.m. (Midco Sports Network,

Saturday's quarterfinals

(4) Omaha vs. (5) Denver, 2:37 p.m. (


(3) Minnesota Duluth vs. (6) Western Michigan, 7:37 p.m. (Midco Sports Network,

Monday's semifinals

Quarterfinal winners, 3:05 and 8:05 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Tuesday's championship

Semifinal winners, 7:37 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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