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Skaneateles looks to combined boys’ hockey team with Marcellus

— An unofficial straw poll of the Skaneateles Board of Education at its May 15 meeting showed a unanimous agreement to combine the Skaneateles boys’ varsity hockey team with players from the Marcellus School District starting in the 2012-13 school year. The combination, at least at first, would need to be renewed on a year-to-year basis to ensure the effectiveness of the merger.

The idea has been under discussion by district administrators and the school board for a number of weeks, with early opposition turning to support after Skaneateles Varsity Hockey Coach Mitch Major assured the school board at its June 5 meeting that team membership opportunities, playing time and program cost for Skaneateles players would not be negatively affected by the combination.

Final program cost numbers still must be tabulated by district Athletic Director Stacey Tice and presented to the BOE at its June 19 meeting, at which time the board will likely give official approval.

“As a traditionalist, I never thought this day would come,” Major told the school board. He added, however, that it was a “natural fit” and “In my opinion, I think this is the time [for the combination]. I really do.”

The notion of a combined boys’ varsity hockey team for Skaneateles and Marcellus came about because the Corcoran High School combined hockey team — on which Marcellus players currently play — has determined to exclude Marcellus players next year. Tice, at the May 15 BOE meeting, said she and Major felt the time was right to invite Marcellus players to Skaneateles even though the Skaneateles program was not in need of a combination in order to have enough players to form a team. To allow them in Skaneateles would be to be a “good neighbor,” Tice told the board.

Most of the board members were uncomfortable with the idea, however, concerned that Skaneateles players ultimately could be excluded, cut or benched from a team season in favor of Marcellus players. After much discussion during that meeting, a straw poll of board members showed a majority opposed to the proposal. They asked Tice and Major to further discuss and refine the idea.

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