The Notre Dame men’s hockey team has withdrawn from the NCAA Division I tournament due to positive COVID tests. Boston College will be advanced to the next round in the Albany Regional. The news was first reported by College Hockey News on Thursday.
— College Hockey News (@chnews) March 25, 2021
Notre Dame Men’s Hockey Withdraws
The Fighting Irish got news of positive COVID tests earlier in the morning and got confirmation after follow-up testing. NCAA tournament officials cannot put a replacement team into the tournament. A team could have been entered if news was received within 24 hours of the bracket being released. However, the deadline passed and Boston College was given a walkover to the regional final.
This is the second time that the tournament has been altered because of COVID. St. Lawrence University was the automatic bid winner in the ECAC, but pulled out due to positive tests. This is same as the situation in the men’s basketball tournament when Oregon advanced due to positive COVID tests in the Virginia Commonwealth program.
What it Means
Boston College now gets to wait for the winner of St. Cloud State and Boston University. The Eagles get the advantage of not having to take on a Fighting Irish team that does have NHL Draft choices like Chicago Blackhawks pick Landon Slaggert.
It’s disappointing that a bubble team like Denver, Massachusetts-Lowell or Providence misses out on a tournament berth. However, it would be a lot to ask a team to arrive in Albany at short notice. New York State also has strict COVID protocols as well.
The main key is the health and safety of the players and coaches in the Fighting Irish program. It’s not ideal that they won’t get a chance to upset Boston College, but their health is the most important thing. The Eagles also miss out a chance to work on some things before taking on tough foe like St. Cloud or rival BU.
Notre Dame plays in the Big Ten and finishes the season at 14-13-2.