BEMIDJI -- Mark your calendars now, Beaver hockey fans. Just maybe not in pen.

The Bemidji State men’s hockey team announced its 2020-21 schedule Wednesday. The slate features 18 home games, as well as nonconference matchups against regional rivals Minnesota, North Dakota, Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State.

Last month, WCHA men’s commissioner Bill Robertson said he’s optimistic the season will begin on time, though the conference is planning for various scenarios if the start of the season needs to be pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

For the first of its nine nonconference contests, BSU will travel to Minneapolis Oct. 3 to open the season against the Gophers at 3M Arena at Mariucci.

The Beavers will return north one week later for their home opener against North Dakota on Oct. 9, before making a trip to Grand Forks, N.D., the following day.

Bemidji State will open its final season of WCHA play Oct. 16-17 with a home series against Michigan Tech. The two teams -- along with Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan -- are set to depart the WCHA for the newly created CCHA in 2021-22.

After a weekend off, BSU will continue league play on Halloween weekend at Northern Michigan, followed by a trip up to Alaska Anchorage Nov. 6-7.

Defending WCHA regular-season champion Minnesota State will visit the Sanford Center Nov. 13-14.

The Beavers will dip back into nonconference play for two consecutive weekends, the first being a home-and-home series with St. Cloud State. The in-state rivals will meet Nov. 20 in Bemidji and Nov. 21 in St. Cloud.

Thanksgiving weekend will then find Bemidji State traveling to the east coast for a pair of contests Nov. 27-28 at Hockey East foes Merrimack and UMass-Lowell. The Beavers most recently met Merrimack in Nov. 2018 at Bemidji, ending in a series split. The meeting with UMass-Lowell is the first all-time between the programs.

December sees BSU travel to Alabama Huntsville before hosting Ferris State to end the first half.

After Christmas, the Beavers will face the U.S. National Development Under-18 Team in an exhibition at the Sanford Center Dec. 28.

The team will then ring in the New Year with a home-and-home series against Minnesota Duluth, winners of the last two national championships. BSU will host a 6:07 p.m. New Year’s Eve matchup before journeying to Duluth Jan. 2 for the back end of the series, the last of the nonconference slate for the Beavers.

The second half of the WCHA schedule features visits from Alaska Anchorage, Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan with a Feb. 19-20 series against Bowling Green to close out the regular season home slate. Bemidji State will also travel to BGSU, Michigan Tech and Alaska before concluding the regular season at Minnesota State Feb. 26-27.

The WCHA playoffs begin with the quarterfinals March 5-7. The championship game is set for March 20.

The Beavers finished the 2019-20 season at 22-10-5 overall and 20-5-3-2 in the WCHA, good for second place. They were scheduled to host Bowling Green in the WCHA semifinals before the remainder of the season was canceled due to the pandemic.

The 2020-21 season ticket renewal/purchase process will begin in June.

2020-21 BSU Men’s Hockey Schedule

Oct. 3 at Minnesota^ TBA

Oct. 9 NORTH DAKOTA^ 7:07 p.m.

Oct. 10 at North Dakota^ TBA

Oct. 16 MICHIGAN TECH* 7:07 p.m.

Oct. 17 MICHIGAN TECH* 6:07 p.m.

Oct. 30 at Northern Michigan* 6:07 p.m.

Oct. 31 at Northern Michigan* 5:07 p.m.

Nov. 6 at Alaska Anchorage* 10:07 p.m.

Nov. 7 at Alaska Anchorage* 7:07 p.m.

Nov. 13 MINNESOTA ST.* 7:07 p.m.

Nov. 14 MINNESOTA ST.* 6:07 p.m.

Nov. 20 ST. CLOUD ST.^ 7:07 p.m.

Nov. 21 at St. Cloud St.^ 6 p.m.

Nov. 27 at Merrimack^ TBA

Nov. 28 at UMass-Lowell^ TBA

Dec. 4 at Alabama Huntsville* TBA

Dec. 5 at Alabama Huntsville* TBA

Dec. 11 FERRIS ST.* 7:07 p.m.

Dec. 12 FERRIS ST.* 6:07 p.m.

Dec. 28 U.S. U-18 Team# 7:07 p.m.

Dec. 31 MINN. DULUTH^ 6:07 p.m.

Jan. 2 at Minn. Duluth^ TBA

Jan. 8 at Bowling Green* 6:07 p.m.

Jan. 9 at Bowling Green* 6:07 p.m.

Jan. 15 AK ANCHORAGE* 7:07 p.m.

Jan. 16 AK ANCHORAGE* 6:07 p.m.

Jan. 22 at Michigan Tech* 6:07 p.m.

Jan. 23 at Michigan Tech* 5:07 p.m.

Jan. 29 LAKE SUPERIOR* 7:07 p.m.

Jan. 30 LAKE SUPERIOR* 6:07 p.m.

Feb. 5 at Alaska* 10:07 p.m.

Feb. 6 at Alaska* 10:07 p.m.

Feb. 12 N. MICHIGAN* 7:07 p.m.

Feb. 13 N. MICHIGAN* 6:07 p.m.

Feb. 19 BOWLING GREEN* 7:07 p.m.

Feb. 20 BOWLING GREEN* 6:07 p.m.

Feb. 26 at Minnesota St.* 7:07 p.m.

Feb. 27 at Minnesota St.* 6:07 p.m.

March 5-7 WCHA quarterfinals TBA

March 12-14 WCHA semifinals TBA

March 20 WCHA championship TBA

^ denotes nonconference game

# denotes exhibition game

* denotes WCHA game