Co-op hockey goes to NHIAA

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Last modified: Wednesday, December 16, 2015
ANTRIM — A combined Conant, ConVal ice hockey team is now in the hands of the N.H. Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The ConVal and Jaffrey-Rindge school districts are finalizing a memorandum of understanding to the NHIAA for cooperative boys’ and girls’ hockey teams for the 2016-17 season, after the ConVal School Board agreed to sign the memorandum at its meeting at Great Brook School Tuesday. The Jaffrey-Rindge School Board signed the document in November.

If NHIAA approves the memorandum and the rest of the application, Conant and ConVal would enter in the agreement for two years, but could renew the contract indefinitely. The school districts have agreed ConVal will shoulder the costs of the program, but any Conant student that plays must pay $800. The boys’ and girls’ teams each cost ConVal $32,000 to $35,000. Expenses include renting a hockey rink for practice, all game costs, pucks and uniforms.

A cooperative team is meant to offer students the chance to compete in a NHIAA sanctioned sport that they would otherwise not be able to play. Conant does not have a hockey team, and the ConVal program is in jeopardy because high school enrollment has been declining for several years.

Drawing in less-skilled players to fill out the team can be dangerous, said Abe Timmons, president of the ConVal Hockey Boosters. A co-op team will lead to a better and safer team, he added. The ConVal boys’ hockey team has 18 players signed up for the current season, while the girls’ team has 17 students, according to the coaches.

There are approximately 10 Conant students interested in joining the team, according to Conant principal Larry Pimental. Many of the Conant students interested play hockey now, on club teams throughout the region.

Katie Robbins, the mother of Conant junior Wyatt Robbins, said she is happy to pay for her son to play for the co-op team, since the amount is less than what they pay for him to play on a club team now. Dave Martz, a Temple representative on the ConVal School Board, questioned why ConVal is paying for its students while Conant is not.

Benji Rosen can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228.