Leading off today:
The folks in charge can keep explaining this one until the cows come home, but there's something puzzling about this picture.
The Greece Central School District, with four high schools and a combined BEDS figure of 2,570, will field just one boys ice hockey team in the upcoming season.
It's not the first time that has happened, but the district has typically sponsored two teams per year competing in Section 5. One of those two-school teams won a NYSPHSAA Division I championship in 2009, when the combined BEDS for the four high schools was around 3,100.
The district, one of the five largest suburban districts in the state, cites the lower overall enrollment as a factor in consolidating what used to be known as the Greece Lightning (Olympia and Arcadia) and Greece Thunder (Athena and Odyssey) teams, with the budget also a consideration. Somewhere along the way, though, interest in hockey has plunged -- and may not even have finished bottoming out yet.
"I think it was necessary," coach Rob Howell told the Democrat and Chronicle. "This has been something that former players and parents wished would've happened three or four years ago. It's been talked about for three or four years."
Howell said the projected combined player pool if Greece stayed with the two-team format this winter was about 38 varsity athletes, many of whom would have been underclassmen. Some of those younger skaters will now end up playing for the junior varsity.
"The overall participation in Greece (hockey) has went down for some odd reason," Howell said. "I don't know why. It goes in cycles. This year's senior class will have 12 to 14 kids (in the sport). Last year, I had three seniors. This freshman and sophomore class coming in, the numbers are really low. I'm hoping (the merger is) not a short-term fix, but a long-term solution."
There are numerous combined hockey teams across the state. In Section 5 alone last season, there was one collaboration of four schools (Geneva, Waterloo, Romulus and Bloomfield) and another of three (Geneseo, Livonia and Avon).
Milestone: Four-year starter Bryce Schiltz scored the contest's only goal at 12:12 of overtime against Canisius to give East Aurora coach Kevin Beale his 300th win.
Beale has led the Blue Devils to 10 Section 6 championships since becoming varsity coach in 1997.
On the move: John Bowne's prospects for success in PSAL boys basketball this season have taken a hit with the decision by 6-foot-8 Kareem Reid to transfer to Putnam Science in Connecticut.
Reid, who would have been a junior this season, had already accumulated some offers from mid-major colleges, but Rutgers and UMass also recently offered according to nychoops.net. He averaged better than 10 points and 12 rebounds a game in the Queens 'AA' league last season.
Coming up: The inaugural induction class of 18 individuals in the NYSSCOGS New York State High School Girls Soccer Hall of Fame will be enshrined in a ceremony