GRAND FORKS — The NCAA says it is still planning to hold a men's hockey regional in Fargo's Scheels Arena this season.
In an announcement, it said all four regionals will be held at their predetermined sites "as long as local public health authorities determine it is safe to do so."
If No. 2-ranked University of North Dakota makes the NCAA tournament, it will automatically be placed in Fargo. The regional semifinals are scheduled for March 26 and the region final for March 27.
The other regional sites are Manchester, N.H.; Bridgeport, Conn.; and Loveland, Colo. The NCAA Frozen Four is scheduled to be played in Pittsburgh.
The NCAA said no decisions have been made on whether fans will be allowed at the regional.
Scheels Arena has been hosting NCAA regionals every other year since 2015, when UND won it and earned a spot at the Frozen Four in Boston. The venue, which plays host to the United States Hockey League's Fargo Force, also hosted regionals in 2017 and 2019.
In addition to this year, Scheels Arena is slated to host regionals in 2023 and 2025.
The NCAA also said it has approved return to play guidelines for each sport based on "direction from the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, along with local and state oversight at the site of the preliminary and final rounds of the championship event."
It also has selected Dallas-based Diamond Health and Vivature to handle all of the COVID-19 testing for the men's hockey tournament, including both PCR and antigen tests.
The NCAA still has not yet announced the exact process it will use to determine the 16-team field. It is usually decided by the Pairwise Rankings, but they are obsolete this season because of the lack of out-of-conference games.
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference has not yet determined how it will handle the league's postseason tournament.
Usually, it holds best-of-three quarterfinal series at the site of the higher seed before bringing the first-round winners to St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center to play the semifinals and championship.
Because of challenges with the coronavirus pandemic, the league has discussed moving the NCHC playoffs to a Pod format similar to how the league opened the season with all eight teams at one site.
The Fighting Hawks are 8-2-1 and expected to be one of the top contenders nationally.