March 10, 2020

Cornell Hockey Playoff Games to be Played Without Spectators Due to COVID-19 Concerns

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Update, 3 p.m. Wednesday: Harvard will forfeit its quarterfinal playoff series against Rensselaer this weekend, College Hockey News reported. Harvard’s administration has barred its athletic teams from competing as part of its measures in response to COVID-19.

As of now, the conference semifinals in Lake Placid next weekend are set to go on as scheduled.

Update: Cornell’s athletic department announced details of its spectator policy on Tuesday evening. Each student athlete will be allowed three guests. No other spectators other than “essential gameday personnel and media” will be permitted in the venues.

“These campus practices are in concert with Ivy League precautionary procedures and policies announced today which are designed to exercise caution in the interest of student-athletes and others,” the Cornell Athletics release said. “The Ivy decisions were made in accordance with the guidance of public health and medical professionals to discourage and limit large gatherings on campuses in light of the of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and are subject to change based on the ongoing review of circumstances.”

Cornell’s playoff hockey games at Lynah Rink this weekend will be played without spectators due to Ivy League restrictions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

An email sent to ticket holders on Tuesday followed announcement from the Ivy League that it was cancelling its women’s and men’s basketball tournaments and implementing “highly-restrictive, in-venue spectator limitations for all other upcoming campus athletics events.”

“Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision,” Ivy League executive director Robin Harris said.

Cornell women’s hockey is scheduled to host Mercyhurst in an NCAA Tournament game at 2 p.m. Saturday. The men’s team is set to host a best-of-three ECAC playoff series against Princeton this weekend.

The men’s lacrosse game between Cornell and Yale set for Saturday afternoon will also be played in an empty stadium, according to Cornell’s tickets website.

Cornell is the second ECAC school to announce it would play its ECAC quarterfinal games in an empty arena. Rensselaer said on Sunday that its series against Harvard would be played without spectators in accordance with “social distancing protocols.”

Neither of Cornell’s teams had qualified for the Ivy League basketball tournaments. The regular-season champions — Princeton for the women and Yale for the men — will earn the conference’s automatic bids to the NCAA Tournaments.

Cornell men’s hockey is 11-0-2 at Lynah Rink this season, and the women’s team is 17-1-1 at home, with its only loss coming in Sunday’s ECAC championship game.

“Cornell hockey fans are the best in the nation and we truly and whole-heartedly understand that such cancellations are disappointing,” Tuesday’s email to ticket holders said. “It is essential that the priority be the health and safety of our campus community, as well as our alumni, friends and visitors. This has been, and continues to be, a special season for Cornell men’s and women’s hockey, and YOU have played a major role in it. We are extremely thankful for your support!”

Cornell Athletic Ticketing said fans can obtain refunds for tickets by calling 607-255-4247 or emailing bigredtix@cornell.edu by 4 p.m. on March 27. Cash and credit card sales done at the ticket window will require an in-person refund.