SOUTHWICK — The Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School Committee approved a renewed ice hockey co-op agreement last week that will result in St. Mary’s High School getting back in the rink.
Athletic Director David Sanschagrin told the School Committee that St. Mary’s is being added to the hockey co-op hosted at Southwick Regional School. The co-op will allow players from Gateway Regional High School, St. Mary’s and Westfield Technical Academy to play on Rams hockey teams. None of those high schools has its own ice hockey team. Co-op teams use the name and mascot of their host school only, in this case, the Southwick Rams.
Southwick is projected to have 22 players available to suit up for its varsity and junior varsity hockey teams this year. WTA is projected to add six players, while Gateway and St. Mary’s are each expected to contribute two. That adds up to a projected co-op roster of 32 players, though Sanschagrin said that number could change.
“Now [St. Mary’s has] a couple players, and we expect them to have a few more in a couple years,” said Sanschagrin.
Before starting its own team, Southwick Regional School had been a part of a co-op hosted at St. Mary’s, but the Catholic school in Westfield folded its team because of a lack of players. The Saints’ previous co-op also welcomed players from Westfield Tech and Gateway.
Sanschagrin said that the minimum number of players he needs to fill a varsity and junior varsity team would be 26 to 28. Adding two players from St. Mary’s, and possibly more in the future, will give coaches a deep enough roster to account for injuries and keep their lines fresh during games.
Sanschagrin said the hockey team hasn’t had to make player cuts in the past, and would not be allowed to seek a co-op if it were cutting local players. Cuts would only take place if the total player count exceeded 40.
“We have room to grow,” said Sanschagrin.
The co-op was approved unanimously by the School Committee. Sanschagrin said that the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletics Conference also approved the request, but it is still pending approval from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Association.