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Michigan Ice Hockey will not play in the NCAA Championship due to COVID-19

ST PAUL, MN - APRIL 05: Joseph Cecconi #33 and Tony Calderone #17 of the Michigan Wolverines react to the loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the semifinals of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championships on April 5, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The No. 2-seeded University of Michigan hockey team will not be allowed to play in the 2021 NCAA Championship due to COVID-19 exposures.

Michigan was scheduled to take on No. 9-ranked and No. 3-seeded Minnesota Duluth, the two-time defending national champions, in a Midwest Regional semifinal Friday, March 26, 2021.

"I'm devastated for these players. These student-athletes have done a wonderful job all year of making sacrifices to get to this point of the year," said Graham Family Head Men's Ice Hockey Coach Mel Pearson. "It's unfortunate. I don't completely understand the final decision but I have to respect it."

NCAA officials said the game will be ruled no-contest and Minnesota Duluth will advance to the next round.

Pearson, said, "They've given so much and to get this opportunity taken away from them, it's hard to swallow. I know it's just a game, but it's extremely important to these young men."

University of Michigan student-athletes and staff participated in daily testing, NCAA officials said.

"It's two years in a row now we've been denied an opportunity to compete in the national championship. It has quite sunk in yet. I want to wish all the teams still playing good health, good luck and stay safe," Pearson said. " Lastly, I want to make sure to thank the Michigan Hockey supporters. I've been blown away by the number of people who care deeply about and support this program. It truly means a lot to me and to our players. We'll be back. Michigan Hockey will be back. Stronger and ready to go next year."

This season's NCAA Tournament bid was the 38th overall in U-M history, which is tied for the most with Minnesota. The Wolverines have a 53-30 all-time NCAA Tournament record, including a Division I-record nine national championships.