July 26, 1999
The Notre Dame hockey team has released its schedule for the 1999-2000 season, after several summer-time adjustments to preliminary versions.
The 39-game, regular-season schedule includes as many as 21 different opponents, with as many as 14 games versus teams that qualified for the 12-team 1999 NCAA Championship. Headlining the non-conference opponents are defending NCAA champion Maine (potential opponent), defending NCAA runner-up New Hampshire, Colorado College (potential opponent) and the University of Denver. Other non-league games are scheduled versus Providence, Union College (potential opponent), Vermont, Massachusetts and Princeton.
League play within the Central Collegiate Hockey Association will take on a new form in 1999-2000, following the addition of the conference's 12th member, the University of Nebraska Omaha. Changes include an expanded CCHA tournament format, some changes in start times and a 28-game conference schedule (down from 30).
CCHA teams also will compete in three "clusters" of four teams each-Notre Dame is clustered with Alaska Fairbanks, Nebraska Omaha and Michigan State-resulting in an uneven numbers of games versus the various league teams (four versus teams within one's cluster, two versus out-of-cluster teams). Due to the new format, four CCHA teams will not visit the Notre Dame Joyce Center in 1999-2000 while the Irish likewise will not play away games versus four CCHA teams (see notes below).
Fans and media should be aware of the following adjustments to earlier, non-official versions of the Irish schedule.
The highlights of the 19-game home schedule include the Michigan series (Oct. 7-8), the Princeton series (Dec. 19-20) and two games versus Michigan State (Dec. 4 and March 3). Other teams that will visit the Joyce Center include Wilfrid Laurier (Oct. 1), Miami (Oct. 28-29), Alaska Fairbanks (Nov. 12-13), Massachusetts (Dec. 10-11), Lake Superior (Jan. 7-8), Western Michigan (Jan. 21-22) and Nebraska Omaha (Feb. 11-12).
Notre Dame's road schedule is particularly challenging, with potentially 10 games away from home versus teams that made the 1999 NCAAs: Denver (2), New Hampshire, Michigan State (2), Colorado College/Maine, Northern Michigan (2) and Ohio State (2). The Irish will rack up plenty of air miles during a 1999-2000 road schedule that will send them to six different states: Colorado (twice), Michigan (four times), Nebraska, New Hampshire, Alaska and Ohio (twice).
Notre Dame's first roadtrip will see the Irish face Providence at the Ice Breaker Cup (Oct. 15, 4:35 p.m.), hosted by the University of Denver. The Irish then will play host DU or Union on Oct. 16 (games times at 4:35 and 7:35). After the Oct. 23-24 Ferris State series, Notre Dame will return to the road at Nebraska Omaha (Nov. 5-6) before spending Thanksgiving weekend in New Hampshire. The first semester road schedule concludes with a Dec. 3 game at Michigan State.
The Irish will ring in the New Year at the Denver Cup, with the final roadtrips taking Notre Dame to Northern Michigan (Jan. 13-14), Alaska Fairbanks (Jan. 28-29), Ohio State (Feb. 4-5), Bowling Green (Feb. 18-19. 7:35 starts) and Michigan State (March 4). All games are scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m., unless noted above.
CCHA NOTES: The CCHA Tournament will expand from an eight to a 10-team field, with the top five hosting first-round, best-of-three series (Fri.-Sun., March 10-12) ... after the remaining teams are re-seeded, the No. 4 team will host the No. 5 team in a "play-in" game (Tues., March 14), with the winner advancing to the championship (March 17-18, at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit) ... CCHA teams were provided the option to begin home games at 7:05 or 7:35 p.m., to accommodate fans who missed the start of Friday night games because of work commitments ... the change to five minutes past the hour and half-hour will help radio broadcasts meet advertising commitments and creates a uniform start time with TV ... two CCHA schools opted for the late starting times: Bowling Green will start all its home games at 7:35 while Michigan's Friday home games will begin at 7:35, while Saturday home games remain at 7:05 ... under the new cluster format, the geographically "extreme" schools (Alaska Fairbanks and Nebraska Omaha, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior, Ohio State and Miami) were paired together ... each team plays the other teams in its cluster four times-twice at home and twice on the road-while also hosting two teams and visiting the other two from each of the other clusters ... each team is scheduled to visit only one of the "extreme" schools in the other clusters, in order to control travel costs ... while the schedule initially was designed as two-game weekend series, some teams took advantage of the option to play home-and-home series ... CCHA members have committed to the "cluster" format for three seasons, during which the "local" teams will rotate clusters and partners ... the other CCHA clusters include Lake Superior-Northern Michigan-Ferris State-Western Michigan and Miami-Ohio State-Bowling Green-Michigan ... due to the cluster format, the following teams will not visit the Joyce Center during the 1999-2000 regular season: Northern Michigan, Ferris State, Ohio State and Bowling Green ... on the flip side, Notre Dame will not pay regular-season visits in 1999-2000 to Lake Superior, Western Michigan, Miami or Michigan ... the NCAA regionals will be held March 24-26 in Minneapolis, Minn., and Albany, N.Y. (there will be an off-week between the CCHA final and the start of NCAA play) ... the NCAA semifinals and final will be held April 6 and 8, at the Providence (R.I.) Civic Center.
FULL SCHEDULE TO FOLLOW
1999-2000 Notre Dame Hockey Schedule (as of July 26) October FRI. 1 Wilfrid Laurier (exhib.) JOYCE CENTER 7:05 p.m. THU. 7 *Michigan JOYCE CENTER 7:05 p.m. FRI. 8 *michigan JOYCE CENTER 7:05 p.m. Fri. 15 +vs. Providence Denver, CO 4:35 p.m. Sat. 16 +vs. Denver or Union Denver, CO 4:35/7:35 p.m. Sat. 23 *at Ferris State Big Rapids, MI 7:05 p.m. Sun. 24 *vs. Ferris State (Van Andel Arena) Grand Rapids, MI 5:05 p.m. THU. 28 *Miami UNIVERSITY Joyce Center 7:05 p.m. FRI. 29 *Miami UNIVERSITY Joyce Center 7:05 p.m.Home games in all caps ... all listings indicate local starting time * - Central Collegiate Hockey Association game + - Ice Breaker Tournament (Denver, Colorado) ^ - Norwest Denver Cup (Denver, Colorado)