UND's destination game against Penn State in Nashville's Bridgestone Arena is in peril.

Ralph Engelstad Arena general manager Jody Hodgson, who is putting on the event, says if the coronavirus pandemic forces restrictions that negatively impact the event -- including limiting fan attendance -- the game will not be played as scheduled on Oct. 17.

Hodgson said all parties are still hoping to play the event as scheduled, but acknowledged, "we remain cognizant of the fact that the coronavirus pandemic may yet impact the event in ways we never imagined only a few short months ago."

He also added that "alternative event plans may need to be implemented, including the potential for the Nashville event to be played at some point in the future."

Hodgson said he plans to provide another update on or before July 17.

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The UND-Penn State game, which will serve as the 2020 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game, quickly sold out the 17,159-seat venue that normally plays home to the NHL's Nashville Predators.

Event organizers blocked off 2,500 hotel rooms for UND fans, planned two pregame parties and successfully lobbied airlines to provide extra flights to and from North Dakota to help transport the fan base for the game.

UND has been playing destination games every other season and they've continually grown in popularity.

In 2016, it played against Boston College in New York City's Madison Square Garden. UND brought roughly 8,000 fans to Manhattan for that game and beat the Eagles 4-3.

In 2018, it played against rival Minnesota in Las Vegas' Orleans Arena. That game instantly sold out about 7,500 seats and UND won 3-1.

UND fans watch the program's destination game in Las Vegas against Minnesota in October 2018. Photo by Brad Elliott Schlossman/Grand Forks Herald
UND fans watch the program's destination game in Las Vegas against Minnesota in October 2018. Photo by Brad Elliott Schlossman/Grand Forks Herald

The 2020 game was set to be the biggest yet.

But the coronavirus, which wiped out UND's 2019-20 season as the playoffs were set to begin in March, is now threatening to take down this destination game.

UND and Ralph Engelstad Arena officials are monitoring state and local government restrictions as well as restrictions for gatherings and travel.

"We are going to make sure it is the type of event experience everyone wants and we seek to provide," Hodgson said.

As of Thursday afternoon, no games on UND's hockey schedule had yet been altered by the pandemic.

UND fans wait in line for beer during the pregame party ahead of the Las Vegas game in October 2018 against Minnesota. Brad Elliott Schlossman/The Rink Live
UND fans wait in line for beer during the pregame party ahead of the Las Vegas game in October 2018 against Minnesota. Brad Elliott Schlossman/The Rink Live