24 League Games Planned, Plus Agreement With Fledgling LIU
CHN Staff Report
Atlantic Hockey is planning to include fledgling Long Island University in a scheduling agreement between league teams and the independent program, according to multiple sources. The arrangement will be similar to the one between the Big Ten and Arizona State.
Atlantic Hockey, like everyone else in college hockey, has been working on a number of different scheduling plans, as teams and leagues try to find ways to get back to play games amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Regardless of the specific plan, LIU will get two games against each team in Atlantic Hockey, giving the Sharks 22 games, minimum.
The league hasn’t finalized its overall schedule yet, but the plan getting the most traction at the moment includes a 24-game league schedule, split into two pods, coordinated by geography. The league has 11 teams, so five teams will be in each pod, with Air Force playing games against teams in both pods. The league schedule would begin Nov. 20, with some games perhaps taking place Nov. 13.
All of this, of course, is subject to the ongoing whims of the pandemic. If games wind up having to be canceled because of the pandemic, the league will calculate the final standings based on points percentage (team points earned divided by available points).
Like the other leagues, Atlantic Hockey is planning to have testing protocols in place that each member team must adhere to. League teams will have to test at least once per week. Other conferences, such as the Big Ten in particular, will be testing multiple times per week, but most Atlantic schools don’t have the resources to go that far.
Each league team will also be allowed to play four non-league games. However, because of the differences in testing protocols, coaches in the league have only tentatively scheduled these games. For example, if an Atlantic team wants to play a Hockey East team in a non-league game, it would have to adhere to Hockey East testing protocols. That may not be possible.
LIU may wind up adding more games vs. Atlantic Hockey teams as non-league contests. That would be the case for its inaugural game, which is currently scheduled against Army, in West Point, for Nov. 13.
Army is coached by Brian Riley, who is the uncle of LIU’s coach, Brett Riley.
The scheduling agreement is a huge boost for LIU, which was unsure if it could find teams to play in its first year. LIU announced the formation of a new team back in April, amid the pandemic, which caused a lot of head shaking in the hockey community, wondering how the Sharks could pull off getting a team together in time. The hire of Brett Riley proved crucial to the goal, since he was able to pull together a respectable roster, and then work out the agreement to get the 22 games against Atlantic Hockey teams.