BEMIDJI -- Fresh off of its first NCAA Tournament appearance in a decade, the Bemidji State men’s hockey team learned Thursday who it will meet in 2021-22 as it looks to return to the Big Dance.

The Beavers will open the season Oct. 8-9 with a home-and-home nonconference series against Minnesota Duluth to kick off the 2021-22 schedule, released Thursday by BSU in conjunction with the new Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s inaugural regular-season schedule.

Bemidji State’s schedule features 17 regular-season home games, 14 games against 2021 NCAA Tournament teams, and a 26-game conference schedule in the revived CCHA. The slate also contains eight nonconference games, including six against regional rivals and the program’s first trip to Arizona.

The UMD series marks the start of the season. The Northern Minnesota programs have not met since Oct. 14, 2017. The Bulldogs are coming off their fourth consecutive Frozen Four appearance. The Oct. 8 game will be played in Bemidji with the series finale set for Duluth.

After a one-year hiatus, North Dakota is back on the schedule. The Beavers are set to face UND at the Sanford Center on Oct. 15 before the teams travel west down Highway 2 to close the series in Grand Forks, N.D.

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BSU’s first CCHA series will take place at Northern Michigan on Oct. 22-23 to lift the lid on the conference schedule.

The team’s first home CCHA series arrives one week later when Bowling Green comes to the Sanford Center on Oct. 29-30.

Bemidji State will then travel to Lake Superior State to take on the 2021 Western Collegiate Hockey Association postseason champions Nov. 12-13 before hosting Michigan Tech on Nov. 19-20.

Arizona State will welcome the Beavers into its home for Thanksgiving. BSU will make its first trip to Arizona in program history for a Nov. 26-27 series versus the Sun Devils. The programs previously met in Bemidji on Jan. 15-16, 2016.

Division I debutant St. Thomas will meet BSU for the first time since Nov. 29, 1998, for a Dec. 3-4 series in Mendota Heights.

Bemidji State will close the season’s first half against reigning MacNaughton Cup champion Minnesota State on Dec. 10-11 at the Sanford Center.

The Beavers will ring in the New Year with a home-and-home series against St. Cloud State, their final nonconference series of the season. The schools will meet in Bemidji on New Year’s Eve before heading to St. Cloud for a New Year’s Day contest.

Once CCHA play resumes, BSU will meet Lake Superior State at home Jan. 7-8, Bowling Green on the road Jan. 14-15, Ferris State at home Jan. 21-22, Michigan Tech on the road Jan. 28-29 and Northern Michigan at home Feb. 4-5.

The Beavers will face in-state rivals Minnesota State and St. Thomas to conclude the regular season. They’ll be in Mankato on Feb. 18-19 before the Tommies visit the Sanford Center for the first time on Feb. 25-26 to end the season.

The CCHA revealed its playoff format Thursday.

All eight teams will qualify for the postseason with the top four teams hosting best-of-three quarterfinal series March 4-6. The winners will advance to a single-game semifinal at the home sites of the two highest remaining seeds on March 12. The CCHA championship game is set for March 19 at the highest remaining seed.

Bemidji State finished the 2020-21 season at 16-10-3 and finished fourth in the WCHA at 8-5-1 in the league’s final season. BSU earned an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 2010 and knocked off Wisconsin in the first round before falling to eventual national champion Massachusetts in the regional final.

2021-22 BSU men’s hockey schedule

Oct. 8 MINNESOTA DULUTH^ 7:07 p.m.

Oct. 9 at Minnesota Duluth^ TBA

Oct. 15 NORTH DAKOTA^ 7:07 p.m.

Oct. 16 at North Dakota^ TBA

Oct. 22 at Northern Michigan* 6:07 p.m.

Oct. 23 at Northern Michigan* 5:07 p.m.

Oct. 29 BOWLING GREEN* 7:07 p.m.

Oct. 30 BOWLING GREEN* 6:07 p.m.

Nov. 12 at Lake Superior State* 6:07 p.m.

Nov. 13 at Lake Superior State* 5:07 p.m.

Nov. 19 MICHIGAN TECH* 7:07 p.m.

Nov. 20 MICHIGAN TECH* 6:07 p.m.

Nov. 26 at Arizona State^ TBA

Nov. 27 at Arizona State^ TBA

Dec. 3 at St. Thomas* 7:07 p.m.

Dec. 4 at St. Thomas* 7:07 p.m.

Dec. 10 MINNESOTA STATE* 7:07 p.m.

Dec. 11 MINNESOTA STATE* 6:07 p.m.

Dec. 31 ST. CLOUD STATE^ 7:07 p.m.

Jan. 1 at St. Cloud State^ TBA

Jan. 7 LAKE SUPERIOR STATE* 7:07 p.m.

Jan. 8 LAKE SUPERIOR STATE* 6:07 p.m.

Jan. 14 at Bowling Green* 6:07 p.m.

Jan. 15 at Bowling Green* 6:07 p.m.

Jan. 21 FERRIS STATE* 7:07 p.m.

Jan. 22 FERRIS STATE* 6:07 p.m.

Jan. 28 at Michigan Tech* 6:07 p.m.

Jan. 29 at Michigan Tech* 5:07 p.m.

Feb. 4 NORTHERN MICHIGAN* 7:07 p.m.

Feb. 5 NORTHERN MICHIGAN* 6:07 p.m.

Feb. 18 at Minnesota State* 7:07 p.m.

Feb. 19 at Minnesota State* 6:07 p.m.

Feb. 25 ST. THOMAS* 7:07 p.m.

Feb. 26 ST. THOMAS* 6:07 p.m.

March 4-6 CCHA quarterfinals TBD

March 12 CCHA semifinals TBD

March 19 CCHA championship TBD

* denotes CCHA contest

^ denotes nonconference contest