Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association Wants Longer Season
UNDATED -- The high school hockey season would be two weeks longer with the potential of two additional games if the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association has its way. Concerns over players leaving high school programs to play junior level hockey and the need for more development time has prompted the move.
MHCA Executive Director Mike MacMillan says other competing organizations frequently cite the shorter high school season as reasons to leave.
In order to keep up with the latest development trends, MacMillan says the kids need more ice time...
You know, we're one of the number one developers of hockey talent in the country. Under long-term athlete development, the science says now (at the age group we're working with) that we actually should be on the ice with them a little bit longer and they should be competing in a couple more games.
St. Cloud Cathedral Activities Director Emmett Keenan isn't opposed to the idea, but he says it's important to put the student athlete's best interest first...
What I like to look at is what's the educational value of it. You know that's what we're doing here. It's education-based athletics. One of the issues, of course, is if we start a week earlier, you create more tension for those fall athletes who are also winter athletes, basically jumping from one season to the next with no rest.
Keenan says when kids leave for junior hockey, many times it is the college coach who is encouraging that player to leave their high school program to get more experience through playing more games.
MacMillan says if the changes are approved, schools would have the option whether to join in a longer season or not.
The proposal has been submitted to the Minnesota State High School League. It's unclear when a decision would come.