FAU Hockey: 2020-21 season canceled due to FAU COVID protocols

The Owls were slated for a January start after the SECHC postponed its season until spring, but FAU canceled its season completely.


Forward Mattias Weir (#28) led the Owls in points with 76 last season. Photo by Kim Smith.

Colby Guy, Editor-In-Chief

Due to an abundance of caution in response to COVID-19, Florida Atlantic University has put the hockey club’s 2020-21 season on ice according to general manager Gary Kauffman.

The hockey club, as well as several others, are considered high risk according to the university and have not yet been cleared to play or practice.

Representatives from Campus Recreation or FAU did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Last July, the South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference postponed their season until this spring. The university hockey club is now tentatively set to resume play in September of this year.

Most of FAU’s NCAA sports are playing their seasons, including soccer, baseball, basketball, and softball, so there is some resentment coming from the FAU Hockey club.

“We think it’s ridiculous that the NCAA sports can play, but not the clubs,” Kauffman said. 

The Owls were coming off a solid season that saw a disappointing ending, as they fell in the first round of the American College Hockey Association Division 3 South Regional Tournament in a 5-4 overtime loss to eventual tournament champion Ole Miss.

The Rebels weren’t able to compete in the National Tournament due to concerns tied to the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s definitely hard being told to shut down for the year after a season that was probably one of the most successful seasons in FAU Hockey history,” said forward Daniel Hammer.

Forward Mattias Weir, a sophomore who scored 34 goals and 76 points last season, is disappointed to not have had the chance to build off of the success from last season.

“It’s tough, I was training really hard and I was in the best shape of my hockey career,” Weir said. “It’s tough seeing other schools and teams playing, especially for our seniors.”

Hammer, who likely only has one season left to play, also found himself angered by the circumstances.

“Seeing other clubs active stings for sure especially when I most likely only have one year left to play,” Hammer said. “I’m just trying to stay positive because winning a national championship will feel that much better after all this time off.”

Defenseman David Israel, who scored 14 goals and 46 points while also making the All-South Region first team, agreed with that sentiment.

“Coming off the record season we just had and after adding a bunch of new impact players, we were excited to play for something in the spring,” Israel said. “Seeing our rival teams being able to play, as well as FAU allowing other teams to play, makes it very frustrating from our standpoint.”

Israel, who also coaches minor league hockey in South Florida, is disappointed that while other teams are playing, the university will not allow his club to compete.

“Seeing every single youth organization play their season makes it even more frustrating that we are unable to play,” Israel said. “We have a serious window of opportunity to win a national championship at FAU and [we] as players feel underappreciated by the school.”

With more students on campus and FAU Campus Recreation posting students of unmasked students in groups on Instagram, Weir says that it is infuriating that the school won’t let them play.

“It’s very frustrating,” Weir said. “Other clubs that have been allowed to continue have posted pictures of their members without masks and Campus Rec was the one who posted it. It’s very frustrating because the school doesn’t realize how good we can be.”

Israel agrees with the sentiment, and he claims the university has not been as stringent as possible in enforcing COVID protocols within the athletics department. 

“It’s frustrating not only seeing other FAU teams play, but also seeing videos, pictures, and TikToks from other FAU team practices where players are not wearing masks and socially distancing,” Israel said. “The difference between football, soccer, foam fighting, and basketball practicing and playing and not wearing masks makes it hard to understand why we can’t do the same.”

Israel notices students breaking the state’s COVID protocols by entering public spaces without a face covering. He finds such behavior troubling and is disappointed that his teammates will be watching from the sidelines this spring.

“Any FAU student can go to a bar and take their mask off, but we can’t play hockey,” Israel said.

The team won’t let these setbacks keep them from competing next season.

“We have been working extremely hard for the 2021-22 season. We just began practicing this semester and the whole team has been consistently working out and preparing,” Israel said. 

FAU Hockey has some games scheduled for next season, but the club will release its full schedule closer to the start of next season.

“We are excited for September and FAU Hockey will be a serious contender next season,” Israel said. 

After the long offseason is over, Hammer will be ready to get back to work and do everything he can to help FAU Hockey win next season.

“We will be an entirely new team the next time we take the ice for a game and that is exciting. I truly believe we have a chance at something big that will put FAU Hockey on the map,” Hammer said. “In the meantime, we continue to work out together and get skates in here and there. This spring/summer is when we will really start to ramp up the conditioning so we can be in full effect for the start of 2021-22 season.”

Colby Guy is the Editor-In-Chief for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thatguycolbs