BEMIDJI -- Zach Driscoll will get used to seeing his old team in a hurry.
The Bemidji State men's hockey team will play North Dakota in a preseason exhibition Oct. 2, where the Beavers will face off with their former goaltender and recent transfer in Driscoll.
UND was originally scheduled to play the University of Manitoba, but then the NCAA Committee For Legislative Relief passed a waiver allowing college hockey teams to play against other college hockey teams in exhibition games this season.
The waiver was approved because programs frequently play exhibitions against Canadian colleges, but those will be difficult, if not impossible, this season due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic restrictions and because the border is still closed for Canadians wishing to enter the United States.
Bemidji State is the closest Division I program to Grand Forks, N.D., just a two-hour drive.
“We look forward to the opportunity to play our Oct. 2 exhibition game against a collegiate Division I opponent before the start of our regular season,” UND coach Brad Berry said in a statement. “I want to thank both administrations for making this happen.”
The addition means the Fighting Hawks will see a lot of Bemidji State in the season's opening month.
First, it will be the exhibition game Oct. 2 in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Two weeks later, Bemidji State and North Dakota play once again — this time in a two-game, regular-season series. The series opener will be in Bemidji and the series finale in Grand Forks.
Driscoll, UND's presumed starting goalie, spent the last three years at Bemidji State before transferring to the Fighting Hawks in the spring.
He led Bemidji State to the NCAA tournament in the spring. The Beavers knocked out top-seeded Wisconsin in the first round before falling in the national quarterfinals.
More on the waiver
The NCAA initially granted the waiver to play exhibition games against other college programs last season, but it was passed too late for anyone to take advantage.
Late last week, the NCAA extended the waiver to this season.
If a team uses the waiver to schedule another college hockey team in exhibition play, it will not be allowed to play a Canadian college. And if a team chooses to play a Canadian school, it will not be allowed to use the waiver to play an exhibition against an NCAA team.
The waiver allows Division I teams to play other Division I teams, as well as Division II, Division III and even ACHA club teams.