A sense of normalcy is in the air as the 2021-22 men's college hockey season arrives this weekend.
After last year's shortened season was delayed until late November due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the programs in Hockey East, ECAC Hockey and Atlantic Hockey are gearing up for full schedules beginning Saturday night. The road will lead all the way to April and Boston’s first Frozen Four since 2015.
UMass is coming off its first-ever Hockey East and national championships, achieving the latter during its second straight Frozen Four appearance. The Minutemen will still figure prominently in what should be a deep Hockey East race after making history alongside their Western Massachusetts neighbors, American International, who will look to continue a dominant Atlantic Hockey run.
The upcoming season will also feature a full complement of New England teams, as the Ivy League skates for the first time since the very outset of the pandemic.
Here are some of the top storylines we'll be watching throughout the winter: