A petition has been circulating around the state this weekend, asking Governor Ned Lamont, the DPH and the CIAC to reconsider having an ice hockey state tournament. Despite getting hundreds of signatures to date, it won’t happen.
“No, the decision at the onset of the winter season was made to not have state tournaments,” CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lugarini said. “(The winter season was) to provide the opportunity, possibly, for all schools to compete throughout the winter season.”
The petition, which was created by Ben Bates, a captain of the Greenwich hockey team, states it understands the decision made last year. “That being said, we feel as though this year we are better prepared to form our own opinions based on the facts in front of us,” Bates writes. “And, fortunately, the facts regarding COVID-19 numbers indicate that we are continuing to move in the right direction, especially after weeks of winter sports in session.”
In hockey, teams across the state have been in and out of quarantine since the beginning of the season.
Some teams have been able to play all of their games, while others have played just a couple. Guilford will play its first game of the season on Tuesday.
“Much like in the Fall, we are still experiencing teams that are being quarantined in the winter, which significantly impacts scheduling and participation experiences,” Lungarini said.
Bates is not alone, Fairfield Prep junior Aksel Sather penned a letter, that was released through former Fairfield Prep goalie Jake Walker’s Twitter account, to the same group.
***RETWEET FOR CT HS WINTER TOURNAMENTS***
As cases plummet and CT enters the final phase of reopening, we need to press the CIAC to put on winter tournaments. This letter was written by Prep Hockey player Aksel Sather, please retweet and send to the CIAC, ADs, Lamont, & DPH! pic.twitter.com/Wia9lHIVo5
— Jake Walker (@JDWalker37) February 27, 2021
Sather said that he and his team are happy to have any season and playing has given them “a sense of normalcy and given us hope again.”
He added, “Along these lines, I see no reason not to have a State tournament. There is ample time in the schedule for a ‘tournament experience.'”
Sather sites the distance (for teams to travel) and scheduling are not an issue.
There has been cross conference play in hockey this year, due to the limited number of hockey teams across the Divisions – Division I, Division II and Division III – to fill out a proper schedule.
The winter season is scheduled to end on March 27 with conference tournaments. The spring season is slated to begin on that date as well.
“In a shortened season, the best way that education-based sports can support our student athletes is to provide the maximum number of game experience as possible,” Lungarini said.