Quick hit – Parsippany, ParHills go co-op

September 23, 2012 on 10:23 pm | In breaking news | No Comments

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.

Breaking News: Morristown, Middletown South to Public B in 2012-13

August 19, 2012 on 4:11 pm | In breaking news | No Comments

I just saw that the NJSIAA has released its 2012-13 enrollment figures, and based on those numbers, I anticipate some big changes in which public schools are classified as Public A or Public B this year.

The big shocker is that two of last year’s four Public A semifinalists will be classified as Public B for 2012-13. Morristown, which reached the Public A championship game last year, has dropped to Public B with an enrollment of 1,033, down from 1,106 last year. There are three or four schools between the Colonials and the Public A tournament, depending on the status of East Side. That is a huge power swing and establishes Morristown as a firm preseason favorite in Public B. The Colonials had been classified as Public A since the inception of the two-class system in 2007-08. Middletown South, meanwhile, saw a huge dip in listed enrollment, from 1,120 to 944, and will also be in Public B. The Eagles were classified as Public B in 2010-11, when they lost to Chatham in the final, but have otherwise been in Public A.

One of the other major swing schools is Brick Township, which has swung back up to Public A with an enrollment of 1,104 (1,099 last year). Park Regional, with the combined enrollment of Hanover Park and Whippany Park coming in at 1,083 (1,051 last year), has also gone up to Public A. A full list of the changes and bubble teams is below.

These numbers are of course provisional and based on my calculations. Including East Side and newcomer Colts Neck, listing Dumont and Demarest as a single co-op, and assuming all of last year’s co-ops stayed the same (not always a safe assumption!), I count 106 public schools. The top 53 are Public A, the bottom 53 are Public B. The NJSIAA will of course have the last word on this, but for now, it looks like Morristown and Middletown South will join Kinnelon, Ramsey, Summit, and Tenafly as some of the Public B favorites.

Here’s a look at some of the schools on either side of the dividing line, going all the way down to Middletown South. Changes in italics.

School Enroll.
TRS 1,105-A
Millburn 1,105-A (up)
Brick Township 1,104-A (up)
Colts Neck 1,091-A (new)
Park Regional (co-op) 1,083-A (up)
Roxbury 1,082-A
Middletown North 1,080-A
Mount Olive 1,073-A
Public A/Public B dividing line
Woodbridge 1,055-B (down)
Manasquan (co-op) 1,047-B (down)
West Morris Central 1,043-B
Montville 1,037-B
Morristown 1,033-B (down)
Colonia 1,028-B
Old Tappan 1,027-B
West Morris Mendham 1,019-B
JFK Memorial (Iselin) 1,008-B
Hightstown 1,007-B
Princeton 1,003-B
Wayne Hills 998-B
East Side 998-B (back?)
Vernon 997-B
Jackson Liberty 992-B
Northern Highlands 991-B
Paramus 990-B
Nutley 989-B
Passaic Valley 973-B
West Milford 949-B
Middletown South 944-B (down)

Offseason 2012: Realignment affects most leagues

August 19, 2012 on 3:11 pm | In analysis, breaking news | No Comments

If it’s August, the school year is close upon us, and that means hockey can’t be far behind. I’ve started seeing preliminary schedules for a few schools, especially those in the MCSSIHL and Big North leagues, so I thought I’d post an update on a few things I’m seeing:

In Morris County, as had been previously reported, Gill St. Bernard’s (back to varsity status) and Sparta (NJIHL West) have joined, bringing the league total to 22 teams. I’m not sure how Pingry (asked to leave the MCSSIHL ostensibly because it wasn’t a Morris County school) feels about that, but it creates three very competitive divisions, in my opinion. It will be the first season for Gill St. Bernard’s in the MCSSIHL since 1979-80 or 1980-81, back in the days of Chatham Township, Chatham Borough, Hanover Park, and Whippany Park each competing separately.

The Mennen Division will play 11 league games (five division opponents twice each, plus one crossover game), which will leave a lot of room for creative non-league scheduling.

The Halvorsen Division and Haas/Charette Division will play 14 league games (seven division opponents twice each), with six Halvorsen schools playing crossover games against the Mennen Division that won’t count in the league standings.

Six teams will qualify for each of the three postseason cup tournaments. Here’s a look at the alignment:

Mennen Halvorsen Haas/Charette
Chatham Jefferson Gill St. Bernard’s
Kinnelon Montville Madison
Morris Knolls Mountain Lakes Morris Catholic
Morristown Pequannock Morris Hills
Morristown-Beard Roxbury Mount Olive
Randolph Sparta Park Regional
West Morris Central Parsippany
West Morris Mendham Parsippany Hills

With such a large non-league schedule available to Morris County teams, I’ve been wondering if some of the top publics will need to look out of state for games. New Jersey private schools have long played their Pennsylvania counterparts (LaSalle, Malvern Prep, Holy Ghost Prep); why not the public schools? Who wouldn’t want to see Randolph face Pennsylvania Class AA state champion Council Rock South or Kinnelon take on Flyers Cup Class A champion West Chester Rustin? These would be competitive, interesting matchups.

Pennsylvania public schools, however, run their hockey teams under the auspices of USA Hockey, a club organization. Would the NJSIAA allow varsity teams to play club teams? I have to believe it’s happened before, and it already happens when private schools play their Pennsylvania counterparts, so I hope the answer is yes.

If the NJSIAA were to approve non-league games against USA Hockey high school teams from Pennsylvania, it seems to follow that it would allow games against USA Hockey high school teams from New Jersey as well, which would allow teams from the SJHSIHL, such as AA Flyers Cup runner-up Cherokee, to play NJSIAA teams in non-league games. The SJHSIHL’s seven Tier I teams are all single-school clubs, so it would be a fair fight. I bet Paul VI, St. Joseph Hammonton, and even some CVC and Shore Conference schools would be a big fan of that option! Just speculation on my part, but interesting.

Moving on, the Big North Conference also saw major realignment. I haven’t been able to confirm this yet, but it seems to have had more to do with rink location than anything else. As reported by NorthJersey.com in July, the Dumont and Demarest hockey programs were at risk of being shut down, so even though Dumont was already running a co-op with New Milford, they sought to add Demarest to the puzzle. A team known as “Dumont-Demarest” is listed in the Big North, so I don’t know if New Milford was cut out of the co-op or if another solution was found. (EDIT: Based on an August 19 NJSIAA meeting, the hold-up is Dumont’s co-op arrangement with New Milford in swimming; the NJSIAA is considering a waiver to allow multiple co-op agreements and should rule in September.)

It’s a little odd, since 24 teams are broken up 9-9-7 instead of 9-8-8, but again, it seems to mostly go by rink — the entire Green Division plays at the Ice Vault, the Gold Division is split between Floyd Hall and the Ice House (plus Bayonne), while the Silver is split between the Ice House and Sport-O-Rama (plus Mackay).

Gold Silver Green
Bayonne Glen Rock DePaul Catholic
Clifton Northern Highlands Indian Hills
Dumont-Demarest Old Tappan Lakeland
Fair Lawn Paramus Mahwah
Hackensack Pascack Valley Ramapo
Paramus Catholic St. Joseph Montvale Ramsey
Passaic Valley Tenafly Wayne Hills
Ridgewood Wayne Valley
River Dell West Milford

The most infamous realignment, of course comes in the Shore Conference, where I’ve heard a number of complaints from hockey coaches and parents over the last six months about some of the matchups we’re going to see. I have to agree that the divisions don’t make sense for hockey, and some of the games involving CBA and Red Bank Catholic really do seem like they could be dangerous to players.

These divisions are based on the normal Shore Conference alignment, with each team playing each division opponent twice (12 games for all divisions except Shore B North, which will have 10):

Shore A North Shore A South
CBA Brick Memorial
Freehold Township Brick Township
Howell Jackson Memorial
Manalapan Southern Regional
Marlboro Toms River East
Middletown North Toms River North
Middletown South Toms River South
Shore B North Shore B South
Ocean Township Colts Neck
Red Bank Catholic Freehold Boro
Red Bank Regional Jackson Liberty
Rumson-Fair Haven Manasquan
St. John Vianney Monsignor Donovan
St. Rose Point Pleasant Borough
Wall

I expect the various regional leagues – Union County, the Greater Middlesex Conference, and the Skyland Conference – to remain the same, while the NJIHL West appears set to carry on with five teams and the NJIHL Northern with its set group. No word yet on the status of East Side for 2012-13. Finally, Don Bosco Prep and Bergen Catholic switched spots in the Gordon Conference, making the American Division a pretty good group of CBA-Delbarton-Don Bosco-Gloucester Catholic-St. Augustine. CBA will once again sign up for 25 league games (13 Gordon, 12 Shore A North), two over the listed maximum, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a few of those games never got (re)scheduled.

I’ve got my schedules started, so feel free to send them my way at jty [at] njhockey.org, and I’ll post them publicly at some point this fall.

State finals tripleheader – live blog

March 9, 2012 on 5:25 pm | In breaking news | 1 Comment

I kept a running blog of Friday’s state championship games. It’s a little long, but hopefully it gives you some idea of the evening and perhaps some perspectives you might not get from newspaper recaps. Check it out after the jump: Continue reading State finals tripleheader – live blog…

State tournament qualifiers

February 14, 2012 on 12:41 pm | In breaking news | No Comments

I hope to update the main part of the site when I get access to an appropriate computer some time this week, but for now here are the qualifying teams for the state tournament.

Before I present the lists, a few notes:

1. There are very few deserving at-large teams this year. I love the at-large rule but believe it should be used for teams punished by their strength of schedule, which makes BrickĀ  Memorial and maybe WWPS the only viable candidates in my opinion. Even those are a bit shaky.

2. Toms River North is not included due to exceeding the state limit on player disqualifications.

3. Morris County missed out on a huge chance to get two extra teams in the tournament by scheduling Parsippany (likely loss) to play Monday in the Haas Cup and Montville (likely win) to play Tuesday. Had those games been switched, both teams would have qualified; as it stands, neither will. I’m a fan of scheduling playoff games in advance, but this is one where a little switch would have made a huge difference. I’m also surprised Montville played its non-league game against Mendham on Saturday; a simple postponement also would have gotten the Mustangs into the tournament.

Private (22 tms)
Delbarton 19-1
Don Bosco Prep 20-2-1
Notre Dame 18-2-2
St. Joseph Metuchen 16-3-1
Montclair Kimberley 16-4
Paramus Catholic 16-3-3
St. Rose 17-4-2
CBA 15-3-5
St. Joseph Montvale 14-4-2
Morristown-Beard 12-5-4
St. John Vianney 12-6-3
St. Joseph Hammonton 7-4-6
Pingry 13-10
Red Bank Catholic 9-7-6
Paul VI 8-8-2
St. Augustine Prep 5-8-4 (automatic)
Gloucester Catholic 6-9-1 (automatic)
Bergen Catholic 5-10 (automatic)
Pope John 6-13-2 (automatic)
St. Peter’s Prep 6-13-2 (automatic)
Seton Hall Prep 6-14-2 (automatic)
Bishop Eustace 5-13-2 (automatic)

Public A (28 tms)
Randolph 16-1-4
Morristown 17-3
South Brunswick 13-3-1
Newton-Lenape Valley 16-4-1
Morris Knolls 15-3-3
Montgomery 17-5
Bridgewater-Raritan 15-5-1
Ridge 15-5-2
Ridgewood 15-5-2
Middletown South 14-5-2
Old Bridge 13-4-5
West Orange 14-6-2
Robbinsville 13-6-3
Roxbury 14-7-3
Pascack Valley 13-7-1
Marlboro 11-7
Wayne Valley 11-7-4
Bernards 13-9
Manasquan 11-8
Montclair 10-7-3
Westfield 10-8-3
Hillsborough 11-9-2
Livingston 11-9-2
WWPN 9-8-1
Woodbridge 10-9-1
Howell 10-9-3
Mount Olive 12-11-1
Fair Lawn 10-10-1

Public B (28 tms)
Rumson-Fair Haven 15-2
Tenafly 18-2-1
Point Pleasant Borough 15-2-2
Summit 16-3-2
Paramus 15-4-2
Wall 15-5-3
Lakeland 15-6-1
Kinnelon 14-6
Princeton 12-5-2
Ramsey 13-6-1
Northern Highlands 13-6-2
Brick Township 11-5-3
Ramapo 12-6-3
Verona 13-7-3
Chatham 14-8-1
Pequannock 11-6-4
Indian Hills 12-7-3
Hopewell Valley 11-7
Park Regional 12-8
Johnson 11-7-2
Mendham 12-8-1
Glen Rock 12-8-2
Cranford 11-8-2
Sparta 12-9-1
Nutley 11-9
Mahwah 10-8-3
Wayne Hills 10-10-1
Madison 10-10

Game of the Year tonight!

January 8, 2012 on 11:39 am | In breaking news | No Comments

The early candidate for regular-season Game of the Year in New Jersey takes place tonight when unbeaten No. 2 Don Bosco Prep (13-0) takes aim at top-ranked four-time defending private state champion Delbarton (8-1) at the Ice Vault.

It’s a little bit unusual to have the state’s top two teams meet only once during the regular season, but with Don Bosco Prep left in the National Division of the Gordon Conference and Delbarton in the American Division, Sunday’s matchup is their lone head-to-head meeting, which makes it even bigger.

We almost got to Sunday with both teams unbeaten, but Delbarton dropped its first game of the year during the week, falling 2-0 to Connecticut prep power Hotchkiss. The Green Wave still have a 32-game unbeaten streak (31-0-1) against New Jersey teams, dating back to the 2010 Gordon Cup semifinals. Going farther back, Delbarton is 64-1-1 against New Jersey teams since losing to CBA in January 2009, with both losses coming in the postseason against St. Augustine Prep. Over the last four-plus seasons, Delbarton’s in-state record is a remarkable 91-4-2. However, despite huge shot advantages in the last two games, the Green Wave were held to two goals against Morristown-Beard and were shut out against Hotchkiss, so they will need to find their scoring touch.

They will have to do so against one of the state’s top goalies, sophomore Jarred Liscio, who has been a big part of Don Bosco’s torrid start. The Ironmen survived two scares of their own this week, rallying late to beat St. Peter’s Prep 3-2 on a last-minute goal and then holding off Bishop Eustace 1-0 despite missing a few players. Despite the gaudy record, St. Peter’s Prep and Bergen Catholic (6-1 W) are the two highest-ranked teams Don Bosco has played this year, so Sunday’s game will be a different challenge altogether.

I’m excited to make the drive up from Philadephia to Wayne for this one, and I hear just about every hockey reporter in the northern part of the state and, more importantly, a ton of college hockey coaches will be cramming into the Ice Vault, so I advise arriving early for the 6:15 p.m. face-off. It is the very definition of a must-see game.

Going abroad, back in a week

January 1, 2011 on 10:01 pm | In breaking news | No Comments

After escaping the northeastern travel nightmares last week and finding time to write a report for Hockey Night in Boston that will appear by January 13, I’m skipping town once more.

This time I’m leaving the country for a week’s vacation, not taking my computer, and will return next Sunday, January 9. Please continue to email any and all scores to jty [at] njhockey.org. I cannot get scores or maintain the site without the help of a lot of dedicated fans, parents, and coaches, so I want to thank them once again and ask for your help over the next two weeks.

Safe driving and happy hockey-watching! Talk to you next week.

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