BOSTON – America East and Hockey East have cancelled their conference tournaments amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Maine women’s basketball was scheduled to play Stony Brook for the America East title game on Friday. Maine men’s hockey was set to host UConn in the Hockey East quarterfinals starting Friday.
“The decision was made in consultation with the conference’s leadership in light of the recent developments regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This is a proactive decision to protect the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and everyone on our campuses,” America East said in the statement on its website.
“While we are disappointed to not have the chance to compete in the America East Championship game, we fully support the decision made by league officials to cancel the event. The focus on public health, including the health and safety of our staff and student-athletes, is our number one priority at this time,” Maine women’s basketball head coach Amy Vachon said in a statement.
The cancellation wraps up a special season for the women’s basketball team. Maine lost several key players, such as reigning America East player and defensive player of the year, Blanca Millan, to a torn ACL and starting forward Fanny Wadling to a concussion.
Without Millan and Wadling the Black Bears struggled to a 4-10 record in non-conference play and went the majority of America East play with a seven player rotation. Despite all that Maine came together to finish second in conference and had three players (Anne Simon, Maeve Carroll and Dor Saar), earn America East second team honors, Simon also earn conference rookie of the year.
“I’m so proud of our team and the resiliency that they’ve shown all season. I’d also like to thank all of Black Bear Nation for your tremendous support all season. To our seniors and the two juniors leaving our program, we thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to our program during your time at UMaine. We’re excited for the future of our program and looking forward to the 2020-21 season,” Vachon added.
The cancellation of the Hockey East tournament also brings an end to what was a renaissance year for Maine men’s hockey.
Maine was set to host UConn in its first Hockey East home quarterfinal series in eight years, the Black Bears only lost one home game all season.
The Black Bears entered the Hockey East tournament as one of the hottest team in the country thanks in large part to goalie Jeremy Swayman, a Hockey East player of the year finalist.
Swayman, a Boston Bruins draft pick, finished his junior year tops in the nation in saves with 1,099 and 14th with a 2.07 goals against average.