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NCHC cancels hockey tournament due to coronavirus outbreak

UND was scheduled to host Colorado College in a best-of-three series Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

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UND practices Thursday morning ahead in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Photo by Brad Elliott Schlossman / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — The National Collegiate Hockey Conference has canceled its entire postseason tournament due to the coronavirus outbreak.

That includes both the first-round series that were scheduled to be played this weekend and next week's NCHC Frozen Faceoff.

UND was scheduled to host Colorado College in a best-of-three series Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

But in a rapidly changing environment, the NCHC first pulled fans from its events Wednesday, then canceled them entirely by Thursday afternoon.

UND held a normal practice at 9:30 a.m. in Ralph Engelstad Arena on Thursday morning before the announcement. Soon after practice concluded, UND announced that all of its classes would be going online only for two weeks following spring break.

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Colorado College flew to Minneapolis on Wednesday night and was en route to Grand Forks when the announcement came through. Colorado College players began hugging their seniors on the bus, knowing that their college hockey careers had ended.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the NCAA tournament was still scheduled to be played without fans present, though that appears to be in jeopardy, too. The NCAA regionals are scheduled to be played March 27-29 in Loveland, Colo., Albany, N.Y., Worcester, Mass., and Allentown, Pa. The NCAA Frozen Four is scheduled for Detroit's Little Caesars Arena on April 9-11.

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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 bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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