Hockey team can’t win this year’s title, regardless of record

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Hockey team can’t win this year’s title, regardless of record

Hockey's teams games coming up

Hockey's teams games coming up

Hockey's teams games coming up

Hockey's teams games coming up

by Rob Zamparelli, Sports Editor

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This year no matter how well the Glen Rock hockey team performs, it will be not be allowed to win the Big North league title.

Glen Rock decided to not bring all of its athletic teams to the Big North conference this year, leading to the punitive measures against the hockey team. Glen Rock will be able to play against teams from the Big North, such as Mahwah, Lakeland, and Wayne Hills, but if the team is on the top of the standings when the regular season ends, they still won’t get the regular season title.

Glen Rock’s athletic program is part of the NJIC conference, with teams like Lodi, Rutherford, and Garfield. Due to few schools with hockey programs in the NJIC conference, schools with teams, like Glen Rock, needed somewhere to play. Glen Rock joined the Big North conference.

While the hockey team alone was allowed to participate without consequences for years, two years ago officials from the Big North notified Glen Rock that it must bring all of its athletic teams into the Big North conference. If Glen Rock did not comply, the hockey team would not be allowed to win the regular season title. In addition, Glen Rock’s would be excluded from all-league honors.

Glen Rock Athletic Director Frank Violante was disappointed with these penalties.

“We were not going to be allowed to play in the league playoffs at first but I am glad we are able to now and I hope the hockey team has a great season coming up ” said Violante regarding the consequences.

He feels that if a player is capable enough to make all-league, then they deserve to be awarded this honor. Whether the school itself is punished should not impact individual athletes.

Glen Rock hired a new coach this offseason, Dean Portas. Portas, who recently coached at Ramsey High School and led the Rams to a state championship in 2016 against Glen Rock. When Portas was looking for a new coaching job, Glen Rock approached its old rival and offered him the position to replace former coach Anthony Yelovich. Yelovich resigned to coach the Tier III Junior A ice hockey organization, the New Jersey Hitmen.

Sophomore forward Alex Vicinanza was disappointed with these consequences.

“We have the team to win the league, and we have some players that deserve to make all-league and it’s a shame that we won’t be able to compete for these things,” he said. “This will be in the back of me and my teammates’ heads all season long.”

Rather than holding them back, though, Vicinanza said it would give them the motivation to play even harder.

One reason that Glen Rock did not bring its other athletic teams into the Big North is because of the bigger schools population wise they would face.

Sophomore forward Ryan Leblanc said that it’s not fair to punish Glen Rock students just because the NJIC does not have other ice hockey teams.

“I feel that it’s unfair for the Big North to punish us over something we can’t control,” said Leblanc. “It’s not our fault that we’re the only NJIC school with a hockey program, and we definitely have a lot of guys that deserve to make all-league.”

Glen Rock will be considered an Independent as they play their regular season games.

Glen Rock will play Coach Portas’s former team Ramsey, who defeated Glen Rock in the state championship three years ago, tonight at 9 p.m. at the Ice Vault in Wayne.