A high school hockey version of Bubbeville is coming to the Northford Ice Pavilion, in some sense.
Seven teams will call the North Branford rink home this year, with another playing a couple of homes games there, as well.
All of them are members of SCC/SWC Division II, which has 11 teams this season.
“I am embracing it and I know the kids are,” Hand coach Brian Gonsalves said.
There will be plenty of quality teams at the rink.
Branford is the two-time SCC/SWC Division II champion and the 2019 Division II state champion. Hand was the top seeded team in the Division II state tournament last year. Lyman Hall captured the Division III state title in 2019. North Haven was the league Division II runner-up last year.
Sheehan, which normally plays at Choate Rosemary Hall, moved its home to Northford for the season and also decided to move up from SCC/SWC Division III. The Titans needed to relocate because prep schools around the state either aren’t letting outside teams play at their rinks or haven’t made ice for the season due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The East Haven co-op and Guilford have also moved to Northford. The home at Veterans Memorial Rink in East Haven is under construction.
Sheehan has won three-straight SCC/SWC Division III crowns, so with no state tournament this season, coach Dave Festa said he wanted to challenge his team.
“With our team this year, I think it’s where we belong,” Festa said. “We think we have something to prove within the SCC/SWC Division II.”
With the Romano twins (Anthony and Joe) and Luke Festa black, plus only losing a couple of players to graduation, the Titans should be loaded once again.
“The way I see it, the SCC/SWC Division II is one of the strongest divisions in the state,” Festa said.
The other four Division II teams in the SCC/SWC are Amity (Bennett Rink in West Haven), Cheshire (which will play at Lou Astorino Rink in Hamden), Guilford (some games at Bennett Rink) and Watertown-Pomperaug (Shelton Sports Center).
“Let’s move the whole conference there and have a real bubble,” Gonsalves said with a laugh.
With five teams typically playing at Northford in a regular year, Sheehan is comfortable playing there.
“It is a familiar place for us,” Festa said of Northford. “All the players know each other, there’s that familiarity and tight knit family community.”