A long-suggested, long-rumored co-op agreement uniting Parsippany and Parsippany Hills for ice hockey has been approved by the NJSIAA, according to the minutes of the September 13 meeting of league and conference officers. The two schools have played independently since beginning hockey programs as independents in 1998-99 (they began MCSSIHL league play in 1999-2000).
I first noticed that scheduled games against Parsippany had been dropped on several teams’ Haas/Charette Division schedules, replaced with open dates or non-league contests. The NJSIAA minutes confirmed the rumor, although I have not yet heard what names the co-op team will go by or who will coach it.
The meeting also included approval of a waiver to allow schools to co-op with different schools in different sports, likely paving the way for Dumont and Demarest to join forces in ice hockey. Technically, I believe that co-op agreement has yet to be approved.
Parsippany and Parsippany Hills (I hope they go with a ‘Regional’ title rather than picking one of the schools – easier for both sets of fans to get behind) have always struggled to field winning programs, reaching the state tournament three times each in 14 seasons. The annual Iceman Trophy game was always heated and entertaining, but the co-op move will give them a better chance to be successful on a consistent basis. Parsippany tied for the Charette Division title last year while going 8-9-1 overall; Parsippany Hills was 5-16.
The schools’ combined NJSIAA enrollment number is 1,623 (854 ParHills, 769 Parsippany), which places the co-op team in Public A and shifts Mount Olive onto the bubble between Public A and Public B. The Parsippany schools will form the fourth-largest co-op, in terms of enrollment, trailing Freehold Boro/Raritan (1.832), Dumont/Demarest (1,647), and Lawrence/Ewing (1,631). All four co-ops are among the 15 highest hockey enrollments among public schools. Of the 14 total co-op teams, 11 will compete in Public A in 2012-13.
Parsippany and Parsippany Hills join Dumont and Demarest (assuming their arrangement is approved) as new co-ops formed by contracting two teams into one, with Lawrence and Ewing (first season 2010-11) the only other such move I can recall since Hanover Park and Whippany Park merged in 1989-90 or 1990-91.