College men’s hockey: Clarkson’s season called off due to school COVID-19 violations by team members
POTSDAM — Clarkson University’s men’s hockey season ended Wednesday due to several members of the team attending an on-campus gathering that violated the school’s COVID-19 safety policies.
The university decided to end the remainder of the season, forcing Clarkson to drop out of an ECAC Hockey semifinal game that was scheduled for March 19 and lose a chance at participating in the NCAA Tournament.
“COVID is a hard challenge for everyone,” said Clarkson vice president of external relations Kelly Chezum. “While so much progress is being made, we are still very much in COVID right now. Clarkson’s commitment that all students signed is an important component of the university’s COVID response plan.”
A few Clarkson students this year have been disciplined for breaking the school’s COVID-19 policies, including some who were required to move off campus and participate in classes remotely.
“Clarkson has had students who have had actions inconsistent with the commitment,” Chezum said. “Clarkson universally acts on violations of the Clarkson commitment by any member of our community and students are subject to a Dean inquiry. We very much abide by (privacy policies) and don’t want to single out any specific students. We universally apply the same standards for every student on the campus.”
The school’s athletic web site did not mention any reasons for canceling the season in its release Wednesday night, posting only that “the 2020-2021 Golden Knights’ hockey seasons have concluded,” and closing with, “Thank you to all Clarkson Fans for your support during COVID-19. We look forward to welcoming you to a new season next fall.”
Clarkson would not allow men’s hockey coach Casey Jones or athletic director Scott Smalling to comment.
The decision to cancel the season was announced two days before the one-year anniversary of when last season ended early for the Golden Knights, who had earned a spot in Lake Placid for the ECAC Hockey semifinal before the league announced it was canceling the event at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak last March 12.
Clarkson, which finishes with an 11-7-4 overall record, was one of just four teams to play ECAC Hockey this season, joining St. Lawrence University, Quinnipiac and Colgate.
The six Ivy League schools, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, Cornell and Dartmouth, all announced before the season began they would not play this year out of concern for the pandemic and Union and Rensselaer joined them.
The conference tournament will still take place. Quinnipiac won the regular-season title so it will host a championship game on March 21 while SLU hosts Colgate in a semifinal game on March 19.
Clarkson will miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2016-17 season. The Golden Knights participated in 2018 and 2019 and were going to make last year’s field before the event was canceled.
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