The University of Maine’s basketball teams are planning to play their home games in Memorial Gymnasium on the Orono campus this season.
UMaine, which for several years has played most of its games at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, will make the switch beginning with this weekend’s men’s series against the University of New Hampshire.
The change of venue, as listed on the UMaine athletics website for the remainder of basketball home games, comes amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The Cross Insurance Center website has no sports events listed.
UMaine is expected on Tuesday to reveal its home basketball plans for the upcoming weekend and likely beyond.
The UMaine men, who have an 0-3 overall record (0-2 in America East) are scheduled to entertain UNH (3-2, 2-0 AE) at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday’s contest will be the first played on the UMaine campus in any sport since March 8 when the women’s basketball team beat UMass Lowell 67-54 in an America East semifinal. That game was moved to the Memorial Gym from the Cross Insurance Center because a Professional Bull Riders event was occupying the Bangor venue.
UMaine basketball games must adhere to the state’s 50-person limit for indoor events. Fans will not be allowed.
The UMaine women travel to Durham, New Hampshire, to take on UNH on Saturday and Sunday.
Barring any further COVID-19 complications, the UMaine women are expected to play their first two home games Jan. 9-10, 2021, against America East newcomer New Jersey Institute of Technology.
The UMaine men’s hockey series set for this weekend in Orono is expected to be moved to UMass Lowell according to Hockey East associate commissioner Brian Smith. At issue is the indoor gathering limit put in place as the result of an executive order from Gov. Janet Mills.
College hockey games can’t be held with 50 or fewer people involved because of the number of players, coaches, game personnel and arena staff needed.
Maine is the only New England state that has not held a college hockey game this season.
The UMaine men’s hockey team returned to the ice Sunday after completing a 10-day quarantine. It was imposed after a member of the team had a positive result on two rapid antigen tests, although those were deemed to be false positives after the athlete had a negative result on the more accurate PCR test.
The Black Bears’ scheduled two-game series at UMass Lowell was canceled after the rapid antigen results were received.
The UMaine women’s ice hockey team is next slated to play Jan. 8-9 against the University of Vermont but is unlikely to play in Orono.