Today, the Ivy League schools in the United States cancelled all their winter sports. Those schools with hockey programs are: Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.
For men’s hockey, all of these schools play in the NCAA ECAC. They leave that division with only Quinnipiac left (RPI already cancelled their season) which will have to move to find teams to play against. That is, if there is any games. It won’t be a surprise if the rest of the conferences and schools shut down completely.
This leaves players in a quandary. NCAA rules prevent players from playing on professional teams, even on loan and for no salary. The OHL, WHL and QMJHL are considered professional by their rules. They are allowing players who aren’t over 20 play in the USHL without losing any eligibility, and Maple Leafs newly drafted prospect John Fusco is playing there this season, with the intent to play for Harvard next year.
But for Nick Abruzzese, there is no option. He either walks away from his NCAA career — and his Harvard education — or he misses a year of hockey. Abruzzese, who turned 21 this summer, is in his second year at Harvard, and his choice is now difficult and compounded by the lack of a currently operating AHL as a landing spot.
Kyle Dubas spoke about this problem in recent interviews, and he discussed the benefit for some players in focusing on conditioning and strength. Abruzzese would benefit from more focus on that side of his development. His choice might be to sit this season out in the weight room.