East Side back in the game?

July 18, 2007 on 6:45 pm | In breaking news | No Comments

Keith Veltre contacted me today and let me know that East Side does intend to field a varsity ice hockey team in 2007-08 after not playing on the varsity level in 2006-07. Veltre has been the East Side coach for several years and has tried to build the program’s numbers through youth hockey. After merely practicing last year, Veltre said he expects the Red Raiders to play 10-15 games this year as an independent.

East Side was 3-13-1 while playing in the Northern Blue Division in 2005-06, beating Hackensack twice and St. Rose. Before that, the Red Raiders were 2-14-2 in 2004-05, 0-12 in 2003-04, 1-12 in 2002-03 and 2-10-2 in 2001-02. That’s as far back as my records go.

While never an on-ice power, you have to love East Side coming back. One of my great regrets on the hockey scene is that I have never been to Ironbound Rink or seen East Side play. I doubt I’ll get to break that streak in the short time I’m home this winter, but you never know. Besides, maybe they’ll play at The Rock.

Assuming Wallkill Valley and Monroe do compete on the varsity level this year (still unconfirmed), that makes 99 public schools. It also means Nutley is the school on the bubble between Division I and Division II if the public state tournament split is confirmed.

In other news that is completely unrelated to high school hockey, I’ve been promoted to sports editor at my newspaper group, which is a nice bump in responsibility (and, not that it’s saying much, salary).

my take on the Harvey Cohen situation

July 11, 2007 on 2:11 pm | In analysis | No Comments

crazy that the hockey news keeps on coming. I’ve got schedules out for most of the NJIHL, as you may have noticed, and the NBIAL. A reminder that these are very, very preliminary and subject to change. I’ll keep checking various sites and various sources for updates. As always, please send schedule and coaching updates to jty [at] njhockey.org. … Slight realignment in the CVC, with Lawrence moving up to the Valley and Ewing dropping the Patriot. I believe that this is based on record in the last two years, which is why Ewing is dropping and not Hightstown. I could be mistaken about that. … If you’re bored, check out Delbarton‘s schedule. In addition to its by-now annual trip to Rhode Island, the Green Wave is heading to Minnesota for four days in January to face three mid-level Minnesota private schools. Ought to be interesting. Also, for the second straight year, Delbarton will face Lawrenceville in February, this time returning the prep power’s trip to Aspen from last year. Check out this stat: Lawrenceville has not beaten Delbarton since 2000.

There will be / have been a number of coaching changes around the state, including at some high profile schools. The most well known of these, of course, could come at Chatham High School, if this story on Harvey Cohen‘s situation holds up. I’m going to weigh in on this briefly. I haven’t talked to Harvey or to the Chatham school board about this, so take it with a grain of salt:

Harvey and I disagree about a lot of things in high school sports. Always have, always will. But we e-mail during the season and share opinions on rankings, seedings, scheduling, Morris County teams, private-public games and the like. We see eye-to-eye on some stuff but often have to agree to disagree. He was upset with me in 2006 when I criticized Chatham’s state tournament seeding and noted publicly that Cohen was on the seeding committee.
But although Harvey and I often disagree, I don’t think he got a fair deal on this one. Whatever you want to say about Harvey Cohen, he’s a dedicated coach who loves his players. Absolutely loves them, stands by them, tries to teach them, and looks out for them at all times. I have to like and respect a coach like that, and I like and respect Harvey.
We could argue all day about whether coaches should be athletic directors, both in general and in this specific instance, but that’s not really the point. Neither is the supposed point of contention concerning a $95/game fee for alternate site administrators necessitated by Cohen’s coaching duties.
To me, the most obvious thing is that the situation could have been handled more professionally by the School District of the Chathams Board of Education (hope I got that official name right). Harvey Cohen has been coaching Chatham hockey since 1973, and I, for one, will miss hearing his high-pitched cries of “Deep!” and “Body!” from the “Little Cougar” bench if the decision stands. As I understand it, there are a number of people in Chatham who feel the same way.

EDIT July 16: I’ve heard from several sources that after further consideration, Cohen will continue to be grandfathered on this rule and be eligible to remain coach and athletic director for several years.

firmer plan on realignment; schedules on the way

July 2, 2007 on 11:29 am | In analysis | No Comments

As first reported here, the NJSIAA is moving toward a public state tournament split. I did get wrong information about how the split will work, however; all publics will be designated as large or small (can I go ahead and suggest Public A and Public B, to keep in line with the designations for private schools in other sports? Public I and Public II or Group III/IV and Group I/II could be pretty confusing) before the season begins, rather than after teams qualify for the tournament.

Dan Breeman of the Daily Record got some feedback from Morris County coaches on the realignment; predictably enough, Harvey Cohen (and most league coaches, which coincidentally are small-school) is on one side and Rich McLaughlin the other. You gotta love it. The actual text of the proposal, which will be voted upon in September, can be found here.

Finally, the NJIHL’s preliminary schedule for most of its divisions (and the NBIAL) was recently passed on to me – I’m in the process of entering that data into my files and should have preliminary (very tentative) schedules up soon, hopefully helping coaches and administrators in fine-tuning those schedules. Once they’re up, please do not take them as gospel because schedules tend to change quite a bit from their original form. With that in mind, if there are any suggestions for the format of this site’s various schedule pages, I would love to hear them now so that I can incorporate them from the beginning.

And obviously, JVR was drafted by the Flyers and made history in the process, getting plenty of pub for it. I’m glad I got to see him play, albeit briefly, and hopefully we’ll eventually see the third NJ high school product in the NHL. Pretty cool that he can just go by his initials around here, huh?

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