Connect with us

Ice Hockey

Canton investigating possibility of joining a boys ice hockey co-op program

The Farmington Valley Generals are made up of four area high schools — Avon, Farmington, Lewis Mills and Windsor. Canton is exploring joining a co-op ice hockey program.

CANTON, April 23 – The Canton Board of Education has given the administration at Canton High School permission to see if the school can join an ice hockey co-op program.

Andrew DiPippio, principal at Canton High, informed the Board of Education about this opportunity on Tuesday night in a special meeting at Cherry Brook School. DiPippio and Kim Church conducted a feasibility study about the prospect of Canton joining a co-op program.

The Board of Education voted unanimously to allow DiPippio and his team to continue the search for a co-op hockey partner.

DiPippo is proposing that Canton try and find a co-op partner for next winter. School officials estimate that 11 players would be interested in playing boys hockey. The proposal would require parents to pay the fee for their child to play on the co-op team and pay for transportation costs.

For example, Newington High School currently has a co-op program with Berlin and Manchester. The Berlin and Manchester school systems were charged $1,650 per student to play with Newington, DiPippo said as part of his proposal.

DiPippo said parents have been approaching him for years about the possibility of Canton joining a co-op program. The 11 interested players are not currently playing any winter sports at Canton, he said.

The Board of Education will vote at their next meeting on May 7 on a potential ice hockey co-op proposal. The CIAC would also have to approve any co-op proposal along with the league that the host team plays in.

“This is another way to support opportunities for our students,” DiPippo said.

Fifteen parents of current high school students and students in the middle school and elementary schools voiced their support for the proposal.

There are currently 56 varsity ice hockey teams in Connecticut and 22 are co-op programs. Eighty-one schools are among the 22 co-op teams. The CIAC limits co-op teams to no more than 30 players.

“We’ve had a few conversations with teams in need (of players),” DiPippo said. “Some make more sense than others. (Our players) are looking for a high school opportunity (to play hockey). There is definite interest and interest by the parents as well.”

The co-op agreement would likely be for two years.

Avon has been playing in a co-op ice hockey program for nearly every season since 1998. Only two seasons did Avon field a team on their own.

Avon, Farmington, Windsor and Lewis Mills comprise the Farmington Valley Generals co-op team that plays most of their games out of the Avon Old Farms rink. The co-op program, which is hosted by Farmington, won the CIAC Division II state championship in March 2018.

Avon has fielded a hockey team since 1998 and the Falcons have been part of a co-op program for all but two seasons when they fielded a team on their own. This was the fourth season of the four-team co-op program with Farmington, Windsor and Lewis Mills.

DiPippo and Canton Superintendent Kevin Case declined to name their potential co-op hockey partner, who is looking for an additional school to join their co-op program. But they were looking for the board’s support so they could continue negotiations with the potential partner.

Several parents, in their statements of support at the beginning of the meeting, said the co-op would be with Newington. And one of the handouts provided to the public and the Board of Education about the co-op proposal identified Newington as potential partner.

Canton currently has one girl who is playing on a co-op girls hockey team out of Suffield.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

Advertisement

Collinsville HOT: Blazin’ Sponsors

Collinsville HOT: Sizzlin’ Sponsors

Collinsville HOT: Flamin’ Sponsors

Collinsville HOT: Burnin’ Sponsors

Advertisement

More in Ice Hockey