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Finlandia University OKs shortened men’s hockey season, cancels women’s campaign

HANCOCK — Finlandia University has decided not to field a women’s hockey team for this winter while announcing an abbreviated men’s schedule in a pair of emails sent by the university’s sports information director in the past several days.

The decision about the women’s team was based on “health and safety concerns of the program,” according to a Monday email from Michael Bond.

“Obviously, we are disappointed at the lost opportunities for our women’s hockey players,” Lions athletic director Curtis Wittenberg said in the email. “Coach (Lindsay) Macy and the team have put in a lot of work and effort to this point. The health and well-being of our student-athletes takes precedence over everything else.”

Bond cited ice hockey as being considered a sport with a high risk for transmission of COVID-19 by the NCAA Sport Science Institute.

On Tuesday, the Lions sent out an eight-game men’s schedule that runs from Feb. 5 to March 6 and includes only opponents from its Northern Collegiate Hockey Association.

Finlandia plays four two-game weekend series, each home-and-home.

The Lions open at their Houghton County Arena home in Hancock at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, against Marian, then travel to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, to take on the same team the following evening.

Finlandia then hosts Concordia at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, before heading to Mequon, Wisconsin, to take on that team two nights later.

The Lions’ final two series start on the road before 7 p.m. home games a day or two later. On Feb. 19 and 20, FU faces St. Scholastica of Duluth, Minnesota, and on March 4 and 6, the Lions play Lawrence University of Appleton, Wisconsin.

Bond also said games could be scheduled into Finlandia’s open weekend of Feb. 26-27.

The top two teams in each NCHA division qualify for the Harris Cup playoffs to start around March 11.

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

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