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BOE gives Canton permission to join Newington ice hockey co-op program

Hockey supporters were thrilled after the Canton Board of Education approved a ice hockey co-op with Newington on Tuesday night. From left to right: Ken Brandon, Eric Howard, Emery Howard, Kristen Howard and Ann Buckley.

CANTON, May 7 – The Canton Board of Education unanimously approved a proposal Thursday night at Canton Intermediate School that would give Canton High School permission to join an ice hockey co-op program with Newington High School beginning next winter.

Canton would join a co-op program with Newington, the host team, and Berlin, Cromwell and Manchester. A two-year agreement begins in December.

The team won’t cost the Board of Education anything. Parents will be responsible to pay $1,450 for each player and help pick up costs for transportation to practice and games.

Fifteen parents and students spoke in favor of the proposal.

At a Board of Education meeting two weeks ago, Canton High Principal Andrew DiPippio said that 11 Canton players are interested in playing boys ice hockey. Those 11 interested players are not currently playing any winter sports in Canton, he said.

According to Jordan Grossman, assistant superintendent of schools in Canton, Newington was looking for another school to supplement the program. “They need Canton,” Grossman said. “The whole co-op needs Canton or they might not have enough kids to play.”

Newington, which plays out of Newington Ice Arena near their high school, had eight seniors on last year’s team that went 15-5 and advanced as far as the semifinals in the CIAC Division III tournament. David Harackiewicz is the team’s head coach.

Members of the Canton Board of Education debate a proposal to join the co-op program with Newington.

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.

Avon has fielded an ice 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.

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.

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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