Skaneateles looks to combined boys’ hockey team with Marcellus

— At the June 5 BOE meeting, Major presented those refined ideas to the board. He said declining student enrollment numbers in schools across the region has led many schools to create combined sports teams, and although Skaneateles hockey is not to that point yet, it may come in the future.

Another important point to consider, Major said, was that youth hockey players are the foundation for later varsity teams. Currently, the Skaneateles youth hockey program has a number of kids from Marcellus. But if those Marcellus players and parents see no future in the sport because the players have no high school team on which to play, they will likely stop playing, which, in effect, reduces the number of players trying out in high school.

“You are only as good as your feeder program,” Major said. “We’re already losing kids to different programs. I’m concerned about losing our competitive edge because of numbers dropping.”

School board members again raised the concern that a combination team could deprive Skaneateles athletes of a spot on the team or actual playing time in favor of Marcellus players. Major assured the board that would not happen, saying that currently there are only a handful of Marcellus players ready for the varsity level and, as such, adding them to the team would not affect the outcome of the season.

Major said he anticipated about 30 students trying out for the team this year, and about four or five from Marcellus. “I will never cut one of those 30 in place of a Marcellus kid,” he assured the board.

Also, he said, he keeps or cuts players from his team based on overall ability and readiness to play what is a rough sport. “If you put a kid on the ice who is not ready, he will get hurt,” Major said.

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