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Atlantic Hockey Announces 2021 Playoff Format

by Scott A. Strande – Like everything it seems in the COVID-19 era, things are changing and so is the upcoming 2021 Atlantic Hockey Tournament.

The tournament will take place over the first three weekends in March, but the entire tournament will be played on campus this year. Additionally, the first round has been made into a single elimination round and that game is scheduled to be played on either March 6th or 7th.  The following weekend, March 12th to the 14th, will be best 2-out-of-3 games with the semifinals and finals being played on Friday, March 19th and Saturday, March 20 respectively.

To continue the leagues efforts to mitigate the threat of COVID-19, the first two rounds will be played within the regional pods our teams have been playing all regular season long.  The only East-West crossover will come during championship weekend where the semifinals will see the top remaining seed coming out of the West playing the lowest remaining seed coming out of the East and vice versa.  Air Force will be assigned to either the East Pod or the West Pod based on final standings.

The allowance of fans will be determined on an institution by institution basis.  Once we reach the championship round, Atlantic Hockey will work with the host institution and government officials to determine if fans can be permitted for the championship.  In the event that fans are allowed, an announcement will be made and passes will be coordinated through the host institutions.  If fans are not permitted, all games will be available on FloHockey.

One other note, as a result of the seasons pod schedule, Atlantic Hockey will be recognizing Eastern and Western regular season champions as well as sets of regular season award winners from each regional pod.  The winners of all awards will be announced prior to the start of the semifinals on March 18th.

2021 Atlantic Tournament

First Round Single Elimination March 6 or 7, 2021

Quarterfinals Best 2-of-3 March 12-14, 2021

Semifinals March 19, 2021

Championship March 20, 2021

ASU 2021

Arizona State University

Colorado College vs Denver

NCHC Announces Adjusted Postseason Format for 2021

Single-elimination tournament to take place March 12-16 in Grand Forks, ND

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Frozen Faceoff is getting a temporary new home in 2021. The NCHC’s postseason tournament format, location and dates are changing this year, as the National Collegiate Hockey Conference will hold its championship from March 12-16 in Grand Forks, N.D. The NCHC’s Board of Directors approved the adjustments on Thursday, Feb. 4.

The entire NCHC Tournament will take place at the University of North Dakota’s Ralph Engelstad Arena and will be a single-elimination format. Quarterfinals will occur on Friday and Saturday, March 12-13, while the semifinals and championship will take place on Monday, March 15 and Tuesday, March 16, respectively. No third-place game will occur.

The top seed in the NCHC Tournament will face the No. 8 seed and the second seed will face the No. 7 seed in the first two quarterfinals on March 12. Seeds 3 and 6, as well as the fourth and fifth seeds, will square off in the other two quarterfinals on March 13. The four quarterfinal winners will then be re-seeded for the semifinals on March 15, with the Frozen Faceoff champion crowned on March 16.

The new 2021 NCHC Tournament format replaces the traditional playoff format the NCHC has used its first seven seasons, which consisted of best-of-three quarterfinal series on campus sites and the Frozen Faceoff at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. This year’s quarterfinals were scheduled for March 12-14 and the Frozen Faceoff March 19-20. The Conference plans to return to Xcel Energy Center and its traditional playoff format in 2022.

“Due to continued challenges with COVID-19, we are forced to alter the structure and location of the 2021 NCHC Tournament. Circumstances surrounding travel, testing, and fan attendance made the traditional format difficult to complete,” NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton said. “We are disappointed that we will not be able to culminate the season at Xcel Energy Center, but look forward to bringing one of college hockey’s best tournament experiences back to Saint Paul in 2022.

“We are very grateful to the University of North Dakota and Ralph Engelstad Arena for their willingness to host this unique tournament structure. We look forward to bringing exciting NCHC action to Grand Forks this March!”

All four quarterfinal match-ups will be available on, while CBS Sports Network will broadcast the Frozen Faceoff semifinals and championship game. All game times are still to be determined.

Fan attendance will be permitted on a limited basis, in accordance with university, local and state health guidelines. Ticket information, including pricing and availability, for the 2021 NCHC Tournament will be announced at a later date.

“We are humbled and appreciative for the opportunity to host the nation’s premier college hockey post-season tournament. I have no doubt that the University of North Dakota, Ralph Engelstad Arena and all our Grand Forks community partners will rally together to make this event a first-class experience for all NCHC student-athletes, coaches and fans,” said Bill Chaves, North Dakota Athletics Director and Chair of the NCHC Athletic Council. “The collaboration and coordination among all eight schools during this incredibly unique year has been extraordinary. The leadership shown by both the NCHC Board of Directors and our Commissioner has been tremendous. Our goal now is to do our part in concluding the NCHC season in a safe and memorable fashion for all involved.”

Seeding for the NCHC Tournament will be based on the final NCHC regular-season standings. The NCHC regular season is currently scheduled to conclude on Friday, March 5. All eight NCHC teams have already met the threshold of 13 games to qualify for the NCHC Tournament.

Minnesota Duluth is the defending NCHC Frozen Faceoff champion from 2019, after the 2020 NCHC Tournament was cancelled. The winner of the 2021 NCHC Frozen Faceoff will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

2021 NCHC Tournament Dates

  • Fri., March 12 – First two quarterfinals (No. 1 vs. No. 8 and No. 2 vs. No. 7)
  • Sat., March 13 – Second two quarterfinals (No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5)
  • Mon., March 15 – Semifinals
  • Tues., March 16 – Championship Game


Ticket Information, Game Times Announced for 2021 NCHC Frozen Faceoff

Pre-sale for full event packages begins Tuesday, public on-sale begins Saturday, Feb. 20

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Ticket information and game times for the 2021 NCHC Frozen Faceoff have been finalized by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) and Ralph Engelstad Arena. The NCHC announced on Monday that its 2021 postseason tournament would be held from March 12-16 in Grand Forks, N.D., be all single elimination and that a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend.

All seven games at the 2021 Frozen Faceoff will be single sessions, with five hours between puck drops when two games are played on the same date. Both days of quarterfinals on Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13 will have the first game of the day at 2:37 p.m. CT, with the nightcap at 7:37 p.m. CT. The semifinals on Monday, March 15 are set for 3:05 p.m. and 8:05 p.m. CT, while the championship game on Tuesday, March 16 will be a 7:35 p.m. CT puck drop.

Both full event packages and single-session tickets will be available for purchase to the Frozen Faceoff, with full event packages going on sale first. A pre-sale for full event packages beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 16 will be made available to past Frozen Faceoff ticket buyers, North Dakota season-ticket holders, and North Dakota Champions Club members, while each member school will also have an opportunity to purchase full event package inventory set aside for each NCHC member. All pre-sales run through Friday, Feb. 19 at 10 p.m. CT.

Full event packages will then go on sale to the general public on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. CT. Full event packages are available for $249 plus fees for the lower bowl, while upper bowl seats are available for $199 plus fees. Full event packages include seven tickets, one for each individual game, with full event lower bowl pricing averaging $35.57 per game, while upper bowl pricing breaks out to $28.43 per game.

To purchase full event packages once on sale, visit To see a seating chart of Ralph Engelstad Arena, click here. A physically distanced seat map will be used for the 2021 Frozen Faceoff.

If tickets remain after the pre-sale and general public on-sale, single-session (single game) tickets for the quarterfinals will go on sale Monday, March 8 once all quarterfinal match-ups are finalized. More information on single-session ticket pricing and availability will be announced as the tournament nears.

Each game has been deemed a single-session ticket to help with COVID-19 mitigation, meaning fans will leave and re-enter the building with a different ticket on days with two games. This allows the venue to be cleared after each game, cleaning to take place, and prevents fans from congregating in large groups between games.

Approximately 3,000 ticketed attendees will be allowed in Ralph Engelstad Arena for each of the seven NCHC Frozen Faceoff games. The 3,000 fans allowed per game are approximately 26 percent of the normal, full capacity of Ralph Engelstad Arena (11,634).

All tickets will be reserved seat tickets to assist with contact tracing, if necessary. Face masks/coverings will be mandatory at all times when in the building, except when actively eating or drinking in a physically distanced seat. Food and drinks may only be consumed while in your assigned seat.

For more ticket information, visit For ticket questions, please contact the Ralph Engelstad Arena Box Office at

Date Game        Time (CT) Session
Friday, March 12 Quarterfinal 1 2:37 p.m. 1
Friday, March 12 Quarterfinal 2 7:37 p.m. 2
Saturday, March 13 Quarterfinal 3 2:37 p.m. 3
Saturday, March 13 Quarterfinal 4 7:37 p.m. 4
Monday, March 15 Semifinal 1 3:05 p.m. 5
Monday, March 15 Semifinal 2 8:05 p.m. 6
Tuesday, March 16 Championship 7:35 p.m. 7


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