This post has been updated.
Cornell men’s and women’s hockey’s seasons came to an abrupt end on Thursday when the NCAA canceled the national tournaments.
Shortly after the ECAC and four other conferences canceled the remainder of their men’s conference tournaments, the NCAA followed suit. The NCAA had already announced measures to limit attendance Wednesday in response to concerns over COVID-19.
— NCAA (@NCAA) March 12, 2020
Both men’s and women’s hockey have been atop the national polls for multiple weeks. The women were scheduled to play Mercyhurst this weekend for the NCAA Quarterfinal. As of Wednesday, the men’s team’s next contest was scheduled for the ECAC semifinals at Lake Placid on March 20.
And, with all winter championships canceled, the eight Cornell wrestlers that had earned bids to the NCAA Tournament will also see their seasons end with no opportunity to secure a national title. Six of them had qualified automatically in the EIWA Championships, while two more had received at-large bids.
— Cornell Big Red (@CornellSports) March 10, 2020
This announcement comes as the latest installment in a series of college sports’ reaction to the spread of the novel coronavirus. On March 11, the Ivy League canceled all spring sports. At the time, it was up to the discretion of individual institutions as to whether they would allow winter sports teams to compete in the postseason.
The cancellation came amid reports that Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League were suspending their seasons after the National Basketball Association did so on Wednesday. March Madness — for which Cornell basketball had not qualified — will also not take place.
The end to the season marks the end of Cornell hockey careers for the Red’s seniors. On the men’s team, Jeff Malott, Yanni Kaldis and Noah Bauld have played their last games in carnelian and white. For the women, Kristin O’Neill, Amy Curlew, Jaime Bourbonnais, Micah Zandee-Hart, Paige Lewis and Grace Graham have also had their last go-around as members of the Red.
Tough day, but one last skate. We are so proud of our players! They accomplished great things and will go down in history as one of the best Cornell Hockey teams ever. Thank you Jeff, Noah, Yanni, and Connor for your contributions to our program! pic.twitter.com/kTtWM4L7yR
— Cornell Hockey (@CUBigRedHockey) March 12, 2020
Epitome of TEAM right here. With news of season ending ❤️’s are heavy for sure. Thankful for everyone of them. Stay safe. pic.twitter.com/IZAaeHJct9
— Cornell W Hockey (@CornellWHockey) March 12, 2020
With the imminent graduation of captains Kristin O’Neill and Micah Zandee-Hart in addition to a top defenseman in Bourbonnais and the rest of that large and integral senior class, this season might have been Cornell women’s hockey’s best opportunity in several years — and maybe program history — to win a national title, a feat that the team has yet to secure.
Cornell men’s hockey has not won a national championship in 50 years.