AURORA — Colorado Academy and Glenwood Springs are set to add varsity hockey programs for the 2018-19 season, following a vote of approval from the sport's committee on Friday.
It will bring the total number of varsity hockey teams to 36 next season. Additionally, Sargent is mulling over whether to add a junior varsity program.
The two schools presented their intention to begin competition next season. Colorado Academy started its program with a JV schedule this season.
"We're committed," said Colorado Academy athletic director Bill Hall.
The team is expected to have 30 players. If there are enough players, CA would continue to have a JV team in addition to the varsity team.
Colorado Academy plans to play home games at Foothills Ice Arena.
This will be Glenwood Springs' first foray into CHSAA competition, though Yampah Mountain High School in the area has fielded a JV program the past three seasons. (Yampah Mountain is set to discontinue that program next season.)
"The numbers we have in our youth hockey program in Glenwood, they're substantial," said Glenwood Springs athletic director Craig Denney.
Glenwood expects to have between 40 and 45 players in its program, allowing them to have both varsity and JV teams.
The team will practice in Glenwood Springs, but because that's a covered outdoor rink, they will play their home games in Eagle. The team would be allowed to play one outdoor game at their rink in Glenwood.
CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green noted the growth in the sport, saying, "It's almost like there's a resurgence of ice hockey. We were dropping programs at one point."
Conferences realignment recommendation
The committee recommended the following league alignment for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. It is a change from the current four-conference alignment to six conferences of six teams.
- There was some talk about a potential split into two classifications for the sport. Blanford-Green addressed the topic during the meeting: "We are probably at capacity for adding another male gender championship," she said, noting Title IX implications. "The Board is going to be leery of adding another championship, especially if it's going to take us out of equity. So the potential for expanding, unless there's a lot of growth in this sport, is going to be hard to do."
- The committee voted to support an increase to a 23-game season from the current 19. That change would have to be proposed to the Legislative Council by a league.