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COVID Positives End Michigan Men’s Hockey Season

Andy Berg

The University of Michigan men’s hockey team is reeling after a slew of positive COVID-19 tests abruptly put an end to the Wolverines' season.

After not receiving one positive COVID-19 test throughout the fall and winter, head coach Mel Pearson received a call from the NCAA telling him Michigan's season was over. Word came just hours before Michigan was set to play Minnesota Duluth in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

Pearson considered pushing back against the decision, but said there was no point.

"You don't get those answers any way, that's what really is difficult to understand," Pearson told The Detroit News on Saturday afternoon. "I don't completely understand how they get to this point, but I have to, obviously, respect their decision.

"There's just no give or take. That's the frustrating part. I thought, I know, our trainer did an unbelievable job of keeping the contact tracing, separating our players. We really tried to give ourselves every opportunity.”

According to The News, the NCAA provided limited details on the decision.

Pearson said that after the first player tested positive in Ann Arbor, the rest of the players and staff were tested again but received no positive test results before traveling to North Dakota. Once in North Dakota, the two roommates of the player who initially tested positive were kept away from the rest of the team.

Pearson clarified that even after the two roommates tested positive in North Dakota, the team still had 25 healthy players.

The NCAA had a day earlier pulled Notre Dame from the tournament due to positive tests.

Pearson managed to keep some perspective on the situation.

"It's just a sport. It's just a game. I get it," said Pearson, whose Wolverines were the No. 2 seed in the region and were set to face No. 3 Minnesota Duluth, which won the last national championship in 2019. "There's been so many more tragic outcomes from this disease.

"But, this time of the year, for our young athletes, this is extremely important. It's really why you play all year. I just feel really bad for all the people who put in the time and effort to get to this point.

"I just wish there was something I could do to change it."

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