Rundown of 2020-21 winter sports updates for colleges and high schools in the Northland

Minnesota Duluth, St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior had their fall sports seasons wiped out by COVID-19. Will winter sports be played?

The interior of Amsoil Arena in Duluth, Minnesota, the evening of Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (File / News Tribune)

With the fate of the 2020 high school and college fall sports seasons now decided — only a handful of high school sports are being played in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and no college sports — administrators are now turning their attention to whether the 2020-21 winter sports season can be played during a COVID-19 pandemic that continues to sicken thousands daily in the United States.

Below is a rundown of the latest from leagues and conferences where Northland teams compete.


National Collegiate Hockey Conference

The NCHC, home of Minnesota Duluth’s Division I men’s hockey program, has not made any formal announcements yet about the 2020-21 season.

However, NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton indicated to the News Tribune back in August that an Oct. 3 start does not seem realistic or feasible when that date lands in the middle of a fall sports season that has already been canceled.

Potential start dates being considered include sometime in November or Jan. 1, 2021.


Western Collegiate Hockey Conference

Like the NCHC, no official news has come from the home of the Bulldogs’ Division I women’s hockey program either. Like Fenton, WCHA commissioner Jennifer Flowers does not expect her league to begin play this month as scheduled.

“Without having fall sports now ... it certainly does not seem feasible that we would be playing hockey at the end of September, or even probably in October, and maybe even beyond that,” Flowers said in August.

Women’s hockey is looking at the same timetable as the men for a potential start date in November or Jan. 1.

Minnesota Duluth’s Sarah Grow (42) and Katie Stark (31) defend UW-Superior’s Pashia Scott during the game at Romano Gymnasium last season. (Jed Carlson /

Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference

The NSIC, home to UMD’s Division II teams, has suspended all competition through Dec. 31, 2020 , meaning New Years Day 2021 is the earliest anyone will see the Bulldogs basketball teams take to the floor at Romano Gymnasium.

Upper Midwest Athletic Conference

The Division III home of St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior sports has also suspended all competition through Dec. 31, 2020 ; however, the UMAC is leaving it up to individual members to decide whether to engage in nonconference competition before Jan. 1, 2021.

Wisconsin-Superior announced it will not take part in any nonconference competition prior to Jan. 1, 2021 , while St. Scholastica has not made an indication.


The NCAA Division III Administrative Council has recommended no competition during the fall 2020 semester.

Northern Collegiate Hockey Association

The NCHA, home of CSS men’s and women’s hockey, announced it will not play league games prior to Jan. 1 . Nonconference play will remain at the discretion of the individual schools.

Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association

One of the first to cancel its fall sports season, the WIAC — home of UWS men’s and women’s hockey — has not made any announcements pertaining to winter sports yet.

High School

Neither the Minnesota State High School League nor the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association have announced winter sports plans at this time.

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