One of the most highly anticipated games on UNO’s hockey schedule has fallen victim to COVID-19.
The Mavericks’ two-game home series this weekend against Denver was postponed Tuesday because of COVID protocols within the UNO program. It has been rescheduled for Feb. 4-5.
Friday night’s series opener between the seventh-ranked Pioneers and 15th-ranked Mavs was going to be the first NCHC game this season to be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
“It’s very disappointing because TV is such great exposure for our program,” UNO Athletic Director Adrian Dowell said. “But it was fortunate we identified the issue early enough that we were able to get the series rescheduled.”
Dowell said the decision was made Monday night to postpone the series. The Mavs canceled their weekly press conference Tuesday morning, and the league and school issued subsequent press releases to announce the postponement.
UNO (14-6) was coming off a two-game road split this past weekend against St. Lawrence, located in Canton, New York. Two Mavs players did not make the trip because of illness, and Dowell said the team found out after the series that St. Lawrence had been having COVID issues.
“It’s naïve to think that when guys travel on planes and buses that nothing can happen,” he said. “Just look at the way so many of the bowl games were affected.”
The series was rescheduled for the only open weekend on UNO’s remaining schedule. Dowell said he is hopeful that another Mavs game will be televised to make up for the loss of Friday’s game.
“(NCHC Commissioner) Josh Fenton is trying to make that happen,” he said. “We’re hoping that’s possible.”
All tickets for this weekend’s games will be honored at the rescheduled games in February.
Dowell said he is confident the team will make it through this latest COVID surge. The Mavs’ next series would be Jan. 14-15 at fifth-ranked North Dakota.
“That’s another big one for us,” he said. “But the main thing is that we want to keep everyone safe.”