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5 Ideas to Make MIAA High School Hockey Better

From Jeff Cox SB Nation -

1. 18-Minute Periods and Overtimes

Prep hockey does it, and so should the MIAA. It's just nine minutes extra per game, but it will offset the argument that kids need to play midget or junior hockey to get more playing time.

--->Really an non-issue but a fair idea. The "More playing time" angle is silly because if the team is rolling 3-4 lines the added time gives each player a couple minutes more per game and over the course of a season that's a whopping 30-40 minutes of ice time....not enough to worry about. Have the coach schedule a couple more scrimmages. The bigger issue is the rinks management of ice time within the context of their business. Ditto overtimes. No longer does a h.s. game fit in the rinks' blocks of time.

2. Hybrid Icing

The MIAA should take another cue from prep hockey and adopt hybrid icing. Some will argue the dangerous nature of trying to beat out icings, but hybrid icing takes away the threat as there is no race to the end boards. If a player from the team that ices the puck gets to the face-off dot before the defensive team, the icing should be waved off.

--->Usually not an issue, easy to change if the refs can figure it out...and some days that's a huge 'if.'

3. Play the best players

There are some coaches who have no problem putting the best players on the ice, regardless of age or class year. Other coaches chose to sit more talented underclassmen to give seniors more ice time. It's one thing to reward seniors for dedication to the program, but not to an extreme. This isn't little league. Play to win the game. Coaches complain when players leave for midget hockey, and I'm certainly no proponent of doing so. But if a freshman is riding the bench when a less talented junior or senior is out there, it's harder to blame parents or the player for choosing a different route.

--->Generally coaches play to win, or at least in their own minds they do. On competitive teams at competitive levels underclassmen are often ignored and there is very little 'garbage time' to get them some ice so they leave to full season teams and I can't blame them. To the contrary a new phenomenon has developed where coaches play less talented / not ready yet underclass for fear of loosing them to junior teams! Some of us have witnessed some coaches that will ride a purported 'Super star' right into the ground dragging the entire team down with them!

4. Big hits aren't penalties

Referees at all levels are occasionally guilty of this, but some MIAA officials are the worst culprits. A big hit by a bigger player against a smaller opponent doesn't mean it's an illegal hit. Too often, referees just blow the whistle because the end result looks bad. Put the whistle away and let kids play.

--->Fine, but a hit to the head should be an automatic call and it is not in most games. The hits we need to take out of the game need to be called and they need to be called consistently. Zero tolerance.

5. Let the coaches decide

With the Super 8 selection less than a month away, now is a good time to revisit an old issue. Principals and other dignitaries should have no place deciding post-season proceedings. Let coaches, former coaches and athletic directors with a vested interest in the sport be the sole choosers of the state's premier tournament. Let's remember, MIAA dignitaries and principals are the same folks who think it necessary to not let fans sit in the first row at high school playoff games like they are some sort of zoo creatures who can't control themselves.

--->Kill the 'Super 8' entirely as it's purpose has come and gone and those days are over...never to come back. It is the 'Private School Championship' and it should be called what it is. Similarly run a 'Public School Championship.' Private schools have gotten very good a recruiting, covering more territory, attracting better coaches, better players, placing more kids post-h.s. thus attracting more quality players, providing kids with summer and fall teams to play together...the days of Reading or Hingham making a run is all over.