Longmeadow girls ice hockey co-op opens up to Westfield Technical Academy

Players for the Longmeadow Lancers girls ice hockey team surround their head coach, Melissa Vandermyn, during a first round playoff game against Brookline in March 2019. The Lancers co-op program, which already consists of players from Westfield High, recently expanded to include Westfield Technical Academy. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – The Westfield School Committee recently voted to add Westfield Technical Academy High School to its girls ice hockey collaborative, opening up more avenues for local female student-athletes to compete for the Longmeadow Lancers.
The Longmeadow girls co-op ice hockey team is comprised of players from Longmeadow, Westfield, Southwick, Agawam, East Longmeadow, South Hadley, Minnechaug, and now Westfield Tech high schools.
The team has grown immensely in such a short time, expanding from a squad of 12 players in 2014 to nearly 40 today.
“I’m excited at the growth of girls hockey here in Western Mass., now having two official teams,” Westfield and Westfield Technical Academy high schools athletic coordinator Ryan Dunphy said, alluding to Longmeadow and Pope Francis. “I am encouraged and interested in seeing where it goes.”
Pope Francis currently co-ops with Northampton, Monson, Chicopee, Chicopee Comp, and Frontier.
Tryouts for the Longmeadow Lancers figure to be a rigorous process though this season with several modifications and rules changes in place due to the coronavirus. Out-of-state travel has been banned, fielding a junior varsity could be a logistical nightmare and downright impossible with new guidelines now in place, and rosters have been downsized from 22 to 20 players to meet the MIAA’s approval.
The varsity squad is expected to carry 18 skaters and two goalies.
“That’s especially difficult … with (our team) growing exponentially,” Longmeadow girls co-op ice hockey head coach Melissa Vandermyn said in a recent interview with The Westfield News. “I think the biggest thing this year … is if we don’t give these kids a place to play, they’re going to go back to prep schools.”
Longmeadow is expected to compete primarily in interleague play, and their “bubble” is likely to include divisional games against Algonquin, Shrewsbury, Pope Francis, Auburn, Leominster, and Oakmont.
A condensed schedule of some 8-12 games is expected to be released.
Practice begins Jan. 4.

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