Since there’s not much else to do …
There is no perfect setup for the leagues, and we all know Section 1 officials like to keep things consistent across the board. Football is always the one exception. It’s time for hockey to be looked at differently, too.
I’m not a huge fan of the old power leagues. The number of programs capable of putting out winning teams from season to season is on the rise. And the level of talent seems to be going up, too, so every so often you’re going to see a team emerge from the ranks with enough firepower to go head to head with the best.
Here’s my pipe dream …
Let’s start by forgetting the formulas and establish a Section 1 Ice Hockey Committee. It can’t be too big or the arguments will never end. We need the room to include the sport’s coordinator along with a group of athletic directors (4), coaches (8) and officials (2). They meet twice a year, once in June to set up the leagues based on all of the information available like last year’s record and returning starters, and once in February to set up tournament brackets and pick All-League and All-Section.
Give everyone a voice. Coaches would have to submit a form with information that will help determine league placement, and later nominations for All-League and All-Section.
This is what I came up with for next season’s alignment given what I know about performance this season and who’s coming back:
(Teams play a home-and-home series and at least two games against teams in the division below. Locked into 12 games vs. Section 1 opponents.)
(Teams play a home-and-home series and at least two games against teams in the division below. Locked into 14 games vs. Section 1 opponents.)
(Teams play a home-and-home series and at least three games against teams in the division below. Locked into 15 games vs. Section 1 opponents.)
(Teams play a home-and-home series and at least four games against teams in the division below. Locked into 15 games vs. Section 1 opponents.)
Sleepy Hollow/Irvington/Dobbs Ferry
(Teams play a home-and-home series, and at least four games against teams from the division above. Locked into 12 games vs. Section 1 opponents.)
Hey, it’s not perfect, and I’m sure not everyone is going to agree with their placement, but this allows the top programs to get a competitive game each time out and travel across the state. It allows the emerging teams an opportunity to test themselves against traditional powers. There should not be as many lopsided games where coaches have to worry about keeping the score under control and keep an eye open for head-hunters. And it give schools who no longer want the expense of spending weekends upstate a chance to develop in the area.