ST. CLOUD — All is quiet inside the women’s hockey program at St. Cloud State. Much too quiet for the liking of the Huskies and their fans.
On Sunday the school and the Huskies’ conference, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, announced a pause of all team activities for at least the coming week due to a number of positive COVID-19 tests. The Huskies season-opening home series versus Bemidji State, originally scheduled for Nov. 20-21, has been postponed, with no makeup dates announced.
“I share the disappointment being felt by the student-athletes and coaches at both St. Cloud State and Bemidji State,” WCHA Women’s League commissioner Jennifer Flowers said in a statement released by the conference. “The first priority of the WCHA and our member institutions has always been the health and well-being of everyone associated with our seven programs. St. Cloud State continues to follow local, state, NCAA and WCHA guidelines regarding COVID-19 testing and tracking and we hope to see them back on the ice soon.”
Per the WCHA, as of Sunday morning, a total of eight people within the SCSU women’s hockey program had tested positive for COVID-19 in the past nine days, which led to the suspension of team activities.
“The decision was made after consultation with head athletic trainer Julie Alexander, coach Steve Macdonald, SCSU administration, public health guidelines and in coordination with the WCHA and leadership at Bemidji State,” said SCSU athletic director Heather Weems. “While we share the disappointment of everyone involved, the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the opposing team is our top priority.”
St. Cloud State’s next scheduled series is Nov. 27-28 against Minnesota State at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. Bemidji State will now make its season debut two weeks later, on Dec. 4-5 at home against Minnesota State. Beavers coach Jim Scanlan said he got word on Saturday of the situation with the SCSU program, and learned that the Huskies would not have enough healthy players to have games next weekend.
“Obviously you just feel for the players. It’s been such a roller coaster and now you’re this close and you get the rug pulled out from underneath you,” Scanlan said. But it’s just the times we’re in. It’s nobody’s fault, and we’re not going to blame St. Cloud because this could happen to anybody. It’s just unfortunate.”
Those who meet the criteria for mandatory quarantine based on contact tracing guidelines will remain in quarantine for 14 days. COVID-19 testing for all women’s hockey student-athletes at each of the WCHA’s seven programs will continue throughout the season.
The Huskies were 6-24-5 last season, which was Macdonald’s first as their head coach.