The boys ice hockey season will be one of the toughest of the winter sports to put together this season given the large number of co-op teams, limited venue availability and increased difficulty to regionalize competition given the smaller number of overall teams, all of which complicate matters when trying to play through a pandemic.
Ice hockey is one of the few high school sports where coaches handle the bulk of the scheduling plans, and with many venues still limiting the number of people allowed inside, and the lack of Connecticut schools with access to their own venues, putting together a 12-game season isn’t an easy task. But the regular season schedules for local teams are starting to come together.
The Newington co-op boys ice hockey team has finalized its schedule for the 2021 season, while the Rocky Hill/Middletown/Plainville/Haddam-Killingworth co-op has almost completed its 12-game slate, still needing to fill just one spot to have a full season planned.
Of course, in the world of covid-19, anything can change, as is noted on the Terriers’ complete practice and game schedule sent out to players and parents, which states that “this schedule is due to change many times throughout the season, therefore this is just an overview…”
The Terriers began practices on Jan. 19, and are scheduled to open its season on Wednesday, Feb. 10, against fellow area squad Hall-Southington. That season opener is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. in Cromwell, the Terriers’ home rink.
Prior to that season opener, the Terriers will have a pair of home scrimmages to prepare for the season, hosting E.O. Smith on Feb. 3 and Northeastern on Feb. 6. With rink availability especially difficult to find this season, practice times for the Terriers are consistently at 5 a.m. on weekdays, though Saturdays when there is no game have practices scheduled for 4 p.m. and even 8 p.m., as teams take ice time whenever they can get it.
The Terriers’ first road game comes immediately after their season opener, taking the short trip to Newington Ice Arena to face Wethersfield at 4 p.m., then travels to Conard on Saturday afternoon before facing Northeastern on the road the following Monday for a 1:20 p.m. matinee. The action continues with another afternoon contest, a 12:30 p.m. start time against Newington at home, capping off a busy opening week that includes five games in the first six days.
The Terriers don’t play any team twice, and will have a full week off in late February and another in mid-March before closing the regular season with a home game on March 17 against Housatonic Valley and a road bout with Suffield on March 19.
As for the Newington co-op, the team also opens its season on Feb. 10, a 4 p.m. start at home against Conard after scrimmages against Wethersfield and Cheshire on Feb. 5 and Feb. 6, respectively. Newington takes on area rival Hall-Southington on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at home, and will face the Warrior-Knights again on Feb. 24. Newington will have three straight home games following that contest, hosting Tri-Town, Northeastern and Enfield on Feb. 27, March 3 and March 6, respectively.
Hall-Southington and Enfield are the only two opponents that Newington plays twice this season. The team closes its regular season on a Saturday night, traveling to face Wethersfield on March 20 at 7:40 p.m.
The Warrior-Knights are still working on finalizing their schedule, but in addition to their currently scheduled games against local foes, they also have a game at Northeastern slated for March 12.
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or email@example.com