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UVM playing on despite pauses

Cats confident in health protocols as the spring semester is set to begin in February.
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 9:06 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Hockey East announced on Tuesday that the UVM women’s hockey team will travel to Boston College for a two game series versus the Eagles this coming Sunday night and Monday afternoon. The Vermont women had their series with Maine scheduled for this past weekend postponed after the Cats paused team activities last Wednesday due to a single positive coronavirus test within the program.

Women’s hockey was one of three UVM programs last week, along with women’s basketball and men’s hockey that had to pause team activities due to individual positive COVID tests within each program.

All four of the currently active UVM winter programs, men’s and women’s basketball and hockey, were originally slated to start their seasons in late November. UVM delayed the start of those seasons to mid-December as a response to rising COVID numbers in the state. A benefit to delaying the start of the season was that by that December start date, much of rest of the UVM community had left campus for winter break.

That will soon chance as the spring semester is set to begin in February. There have been critics, both inside and outside the University, of the decision to allow the UVM teams to play. With teams traveling to other schools, and hosting teams from other states, without quarantining. UVM Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman understands that concern and recognizes that plans may change, but is confident of the protocols agreed on together by the University and state health officials.

“I’m glad we were able to start our teams in a competitive phase while there were not other students on campus, just because it gave an opportunity for us to get comfortable with our protocols.

It’s important that people understand the protocols that we have put in place, and the coordination that happened between the University, the athletic department and the Vermont Department of Health.

Believe me, if we felt that competing in intercollegiate athletics was any additional risk to the community, or if the Health Department felt that, we wouldn’t do this.

We understand our responsibility to the state of Vermont, and our campus and we’re going to do everything to make sure that, if we’re operating a program, we’re doing it in a way that is safe and that doesn’t elevate the risk for anybody else.”

However, the hockey and basketball teams soon won’t be the only UVM program’s competing this winter. Schulman confirmed to Channel Three Sports that there will be a college ski season this winter. It will be modified and shortened but will feature both alpine and cross country competitions.

Schulman says the exact schedule of events is still being worked out. It could be a few more weeks before a schedule is finalized, and even then, that schedule could change.

However the ski season does play out, it will certainly look different. The other top two programs in the East outside of UVM, Dartmouth and Middlebury, are not competing this winter. Middlebury was set to host the NCAA Ski Championships this year, but now, the University of New Hampshire will serve as the host site. The Championships are currently scheduled to take place March 10th-13th.

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