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High School Ice Hockey:
Few Competitive Games on SJHSIHL Schedule

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

There are some old clichés such as “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, or “Be careful what you wish for”, or my personal favorite “On any given Sunday”, but as I contemplated the change the SJHSIHL league made this year in eliminating the Tier system, I could only think of, “You gotten to be #!!!?& me Pyle!!” Why the league, in my opinion would take three steps backward, is inconceivable, how many competitive games will there be this season? Well, I am glad you asked. For those who are not familiar to what has happened, let me update you. No longer are the teams separated by Tier 1 and Tier 2, everyone is equal. Is the talent level the same? No, that’s why they have Tier 1 and Tier 2, I mean had.

Basically all the teams from last year, at both levels, will now play each other one time during the regular season. No longer does Eastern play Cherokee twice, or Clearview play Washington Township twice. Instead you will get games that will have a running clock by the third period, scores like, 7-0, or 10-1, instead of more competitive games. Now I do not profess to have all the answers, nor do I attend any league meetings. But here are some suggestions:

  1. Form a competition committee to decide what teams should be in Tier 1, by the way here are a list of eight that I believe fall into that category, and they are: Cherokee, Clearview, Paul VI, Shawnee, Washington Township, Moorestown, Eastern and Rancocas Valley.
  2. Have each team play each other twice, with an additional game between rivals. For example, Eastern would play Cherokee three times, Township would play Clearview three times, etc.
  3. During the season the competition should be aware of the top Tier 2 teams that could move into Tier 1 the following year.
  4. Promote the rivalry games at schools; I know some teams try and pre-sell tickets, make this league wide.

What does a parent say to their son playing on a Tier 2 team, that has just lost its third game in a row by 10 goals, hang in there? Is it possible for some Tier 2 teams to combine rosters? Maybe not, but it’s a thought. Possibly more thought than the league gave to this new system. I know its no fun watching a blowout, let alone playing in one. Is it early in the season, yes, but its also early enough where changes can be made. The ice slots are booked and paid for, will it be a pain to change the schedule, probably. But if you had a choice of watching a 14-0 game or a 1-1 game, which would you choose?

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