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National Girls Hockey Academy coming to Skaneateles

— Academy members will not be allowed to play on the high school hockey team, but will be recruited “specifically and only” for the NHA, Brown said. The reasons for this are mainly to keep the girls focused on the NHA program, but also it will avoid charges of “recruitment” to the high school team, which is illegal under the Section III athletic rules.

The NHA students, however, will be living in academy housing in Skaneateles and therefore will be considered residents under Education Law Section 3202, Brown said. They can, therefore, go out for other high school sports in Skaneateles, just not the hockey team.

The academy also will not steal talent from the high school team because so few local hockey players will be up to the elite level required for admittance to the NHA, Brown said.

“It’s impossible to have that affect on the Skaneateles program,” he said.

With the NHA located in Skaneateles, some attendees would most likely go to school at Skaneateles High School. Brown’s presentation to the school board was more a courtesy and information sharing session than a need for permission.

“They don’t need our approval,” said Skaneateles Schools Superintendent Phil D’Angelo. “But any new idea is exciting and I want to hear more.”

School board members had a host of questions for Brown during his presentation, including possible impact on the high school girls’ hockey team, liability issues, scholarships, general funding, student housing and student supervision.

“Our main concern is, if we are responsible for educating [academy students] we need the authority to work with them, discipline them and comply with state and federal regulations,” D’Angelo said.

Brown said a main reason for locating the school in Skaneateles was the high reputation of the school district and the academy’s intention for academics to be just as important for its students as athletics.

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