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Northern Michigan University Wildcats hockey series this weekend called off

Alabama-Huntsville’s Kurt Gosselin, front, and Northern Michigan University’s Darien Craighead race after the puck in the second period on March 4, 2018, at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — The WCHA announced on Wednesday that Northern Michigan University’s hockey series at Alabama-Huntsville this weekend has been postponed.

Not surprisingly, coronavirus pandemic issues are to blame, in this instance at Alabama-Huntsville.

Rescheduling of the league series, if and when possible, will be announced at a “later date,” according to a WCHA sports news release.

The most practical makeup dates would seem to be at the end of the league schedule when the WCHA built in an off-week between the regular season and the league tournament just for this kind of development.

The only problem is that the Chargers already have a makeup series scheduled at Bemidji State that weekend. This was a series that was originally scheduled for last weekend, Jan. 15-16.

Northern Michigan University forward Vincent de Mey, left, brings the puck up ice as teammate Joe Nardi trails during the first period of a nonconference game against Ferris State on Dec. 16 at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. (Photo courtesy Shannon Stieg)

The Wildcats’ first eight games on its revised schedule that came out in late October had to be called off, with all those games but one being nonconference games against WCHA opponents. Those nonconference games were simply canceled.

The one league game in that early-season stretch was at Lake Superior State, and it has been rescheduled for early February.

The cancellations pushed up the opening of NMU’s season from Nov. 25 to Dec. 16, and even that mid-December game was a rescheduled nonconference single game at home against Ferris State.

Northern’s two series against Alaska schools were also canceled after the WCHA programs in Fairbanks and Anchorage suspended their seasons. Those series were replaced with nonleague series against other WCHA opponents, which were played the last two weekends against LSSU at home and Bowling Green State on the road.

NMU’s next games are now scheduled to be a league two-game series at home against Ferris State on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 29-30.

The Wildcats also have two-game league series scheduled for each weekend of February.

Through all this juggling of team schedules, fans have not been allowed to attend games this season due to the pandemic.

Next season, the WCHA is set to break up with the seven Midwestern schools in Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio bolting to re-form the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. They will leave behind Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska-Fairbanks and Alaska-Anchorage, all programs whose futures look, at best, uncertain.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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