NCHC altering postgame handshake protocol with coronavirus precautions in mind

NCHC teams will instead fist-bump with gloves on at the end of weekend series.

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Former Fighting Hawk and current Colorado College forward Chris Wilkie (34) is held back from the UND line by former teammate Dixon Bowen in the second period of Friday's hockey game at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

With the deadly coronavirus in mind, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference is making changes to its postgame handshake routine for precautionary reasons.

Instead of shaking hands at the end of each game, there will be no such greeting between opponents after Game 1 of a weekend series. It will come only after the series finale. And instead of a handshake, players will be asked to fist-bump each other with their gloves on.

The coaching staffs will shake hands by their benches, but they will not shake hands with the opposing team.

On-ice officals will not shake hands with team captains during their pre-game meeting that occurs during warmups.

The NCHC also has asked teams to use individual water bottles and towels for each player instead of sharing.


This new protocol will begin this weekend -- the regular-season series finale for NCHC teams -- and continue through the playoffs, which begin next weekend with first-round series on campus sites.

The NCHC also has started making detailed preparations ahead of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, which will occur March 20-21 at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes, fans, officials, media and staff during the NCHC Tournament is of utmost importance," NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton said. "With regards to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), we are working closely with campus-site hosts, Xcel Energy Center and Minnesota Wild to monitor and assess risks within each area the tournament will be conducted. The appropriate parties are in regular contact with local, state, and national health agencies for guidance about potential risk to their area. We encourage everyone to follow the guidelines provided by the CDC.”

Usually, opposing teams shake hands after each game unless the officials determine things are too contentious at the end of a game for a handshake.

UND closes the regular season at Omaha's Baxter Arena at 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Next weekend, it will host a best-of-three first-round playoff series in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Its opponent is yet to be determined.

The coronavirus, which has killed more than 3,300 people worldwide according to the New York Times , has already impacted the hockey world.

UND and other hockey teams have been conserving their stick supply because they are having problems getting sticks that are made in Chinese factories, which have been either closed or had production significantly limited during the coronavirus outbreak.

Former UND coach Brian Idalski, who is now coaching a Shenzhen, China-based professional women's hockey team, had to move his team to St. Petersburg, Russia, for the last month-plus of the season because of the coronavirus. Idalski's team has reached the championship series and will play it this weekend in Ufa, Russia.


No. 2 UND at Omaha

When: 7:07 p.m. Friday, 7:07 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Baxter Arena, Omaha.

TV: Midco Sports Network (GF Ch. 27/622 HD).

Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).


Records: UND 25-4-4 (16-3-3 NCHC); Omaha 13-16-5 (7-12-3).

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UND forward Mark Senden (19) waits at the Fighting Hawks bench with his teammates while officials review a call during Friday's home hockey game against Denver. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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