Looks like fewer prep days for Shaker.
University School is one of eight powerhouse hockey teams in Northeast Ohio forming a new conference at the start of the 2013-14 season.
St. Edward, St. Ignatius, Padua, Holy Name, Lake Catholic, Walsh Jesuit and University School are planning on withdrawing from the Red North, a division of the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League, to form an elite conference. The number of teams involved in the GCHSHL will drop from 41 to 34, and the status of the Baron Cup would be under question.
Gilmour Academy, now independent in hockey, will also join the newly forming Great Lakes League. Although the teams joining the GLL at this time are all private, the new conference has not forbidden public schools. Strongsville was rumored to have been invited to join the league, but Athletic Director Don Readance spoke to the athletic director, who said the rumor was false.
“I think it’s bad for high school hockey,” said senior forward Connor Siwik, “It is going to further polarize athletics between public and private schools.”
According to Readance, Shaker was not invited to join the GLL. In fact, Shaker was never involved in any meetings about it. Readance said one of prospective GLL team’s athletic directors was apologetic about Shaker’s exclusion.
Readance feels that the GLL was formed prematurely. He said he is not bitter over the lack of an invitation, but remains unsure of his feelings aboutbeing left out. “It was a little odd,” Readance said.
Although this change is relieving Shaker of many of their rivalries in the Red North division, the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League will go on. Shaker played its way back into the Red North last season, and will still face other competition such as Hudson and Rocky River after the conference change. Readance is happy that Shaker hockey is staying under the “umbrella” of the GCHSHL, however he thinks that Shaker should remain in the top division within the conference.
Junior defenseman Max Yauch said he doesn’t think the competition will be as good. “We’ll have a good record, but we won’t be ready for those teams in the playoffs,” he said.
One advantage private schools have always had over public schools is their ability to recruit good, young players. Siwik believes that this league change will further strengthen that advantage for these private schools, which have won 18 state hockey titles.
“The better younger players that would want to play for Shaker will be dissuaded from doing so,” Siwik said. “They will want to play in the best league and have a shot at winning states and getting better to play for junior teams and colleges.”
A version of this article appeared in print on 3 October 2012, on page 10 of the Shakerite.