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Welcome to the New Haven Register high school sports blog where our talented staff of Chris Hunn, Joe Morelli, Dan Nowak and Mike Pucci will keep you up to date on everything to do with high school sports in Connecticut. Mike Pucci's Gridiron Glory blog for high school football remains. We hope you enjoy and feel free to join in the conversation.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Boys' hockey: Coaches vote to discontinue SCC D-II tournament

For years the Division I hockey teams in the Southern Connecticut Conference have opted not to have a post-season tournament, mostly to avoid playing a team for a third or fourth time in the CIAC Division I tournament.
The move also allowed the teams to schedule non-conference scrimmage games against opponents of their choosing the week prior to the state tournament to prepare for the postseason.
SCC commissioner Al Carbone confirmed that two weeks ago at a SCC hockey coaches meeting the Division II coaches voted to discontinue their tournament after this season as well for the same reasons.
This season’s SCC Division II tournament begins on Friday at Bennett Rink with No. 1 Guilford facing No. 4 Branford at 5:30 p.m. and No. 2 Cheshire facing No. 3 Hand at 7:30 p.m. The championship is Saturday at Bennett Rink at 6 p.m.
“We D-II coaches wanted to be in concert with the D-I teams as far as beating ourselves up so close to the tournament,” Branford coach Adolph Brink said. “Depending on how things shake out, we could end up playing Hand four times this year and two times in tournament settings within a week.
“I feel that having some time to get healthy and prepared for the CIAC tourney is just to tough when you are possibly playing two games the weekend before a Tuesday round one game in the CIAC tournament.”
The SCC schools’ athletic directors will determine the final fate of the SCC D-II tournament at their annual meeting on Wednesday.
“I understand all the arguments the coaches have for doing this, but the decision to discontinue or continue the tournament will be made by the athletic directors,” SCC commissioner Al Carbone said. “It’s a little disappointing. The thing is we reinstituted the tournament four years ago at the urging of the coaches.
“One concern coaches have had is holding the semis and final on back-to-back days like we are doing this season. In the future we can do it earlier in the week, maybe with a Wednesday-Saturday schedule. Thing is this is all about the kids and giving them more games to play. Let’s make changes but let’s make changes for the better.”
The SCC Division II coaches in the tournament who were contacted had their concerns. Guilford coach Ralph Russo, Cheshire coach Jim Riccitelli and Hand coach Mark Andreucci said they and their players were all excited about playing in the SCC tournament, something that was a team goal in the preseason.
In an earlier interview for an advance story on the SCC tournament, Russo said, “There might be some talk about the games being too close to states which a lot of coaches do not favor. But we are looking at a chance to play some clean competitive hockey before states. Our players are looking forward to the games.”
Ultimately, the future of the SCC D-II tournament will lie with the league’s athletic directors next week.

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