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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Ohio High School hockey report, as of Dec 7 2011

Examining North West Ohio's Red Division threw the first weekend in December.  Our teams are
Bowling Green, Findlay, Saint John's, Saint Francis and Sylvania Northview.
Our current league standings are
1. Sylvania Northview  2 w 0L 0T for 6 league Points, 8 Goals for, 2 against
2. Findlay HS 2 W 0L 0T for 6 league Points, 6 Goals for and 2 against
3. A tie between defending State Champions St. Francis and St. Johns who each have played only One league game to this point.  St. Francis 0W-1L 0T 0 league points 0 goals for and 3 against
St. Johns is 0W 1L 0T with 0 League Points, 1 goal For and 3 against
4. Bowling Green resides in last place.  0W 2L 0T with 3 goals for and 8 against

Down in the Capital Hockey Conference in Columbus we are seeing Dublin Coffman, Upper Arlington and Olentangy Liberty standing out.  Upper has very good size and better skill than in the past, and while in the White division, I see them going deep this year.  Olentangy has a solid goaltender tandem, and good play in front of them.  In the Red Division, WHile Liberty has yet to play a game  those current rankings are
Dublin Jerome and Coffman Tied for first each with a 1-0-0 record, followed by Cincinnati Moeller and St. Charles each having played 2 games and going 1-1-0. 
It is my beliefe that overall this will be a better than expected year for Capital Confernce

In Cleveland we have the same near usual unpredictable mess.  Which is a good thing.  The only difference this year that Cleveland St. Ignatius is truly the front runner.  The size, speed, skill and depth of this group is the best they have ever had, or at the very least in the past 8 years.  It would is easy to pin them for another State Championship.  That said, this is Cleveland.  It is way to early, far to many rivalry games to play, and a Conference titles to battle for this year.  Speaking of which High School hockey fans should be sure to make out and down to Progressive Field.  The outdoor sheet will be getting played in by numerous  HS contest, as well as other events.  All leading up to the University of Michigan Vs. Ohio State game.  It is or should be of no surprise to Cleveland HS hockey fans that this event is staged in Cleveland.  With St. Ignatius, St. Ed's, Padua, and Rocky River all having talent on the radar's of these and other NCAA programs.  This CCHA Battle may well be one that mirrors the CCHA Championship and with 9 of the 11 CCHA schools in the top 20, it just might a preview of the NCAA Championship.

The Strongest Team in Ohio is likely Cleveland St. Ignatius.  The Top 6 teams in the state, are Cleveland St Ignatius, Cleveland St. Edwards, Rocky River, Toledo St Johns, Sylvania Northview and Shaker Heights, as I see it here in early December.  I will try to maintain a top 6 with each installment this season.

As a final note we know the State is efforting and has voted to make some changes to the state Championships, in various sports.  Some serious competitive balance issues have yet to be addressed in Ice hockey. 

1.  There is more clear than clouded line between the the most competitive programs and those less competitive.  As a result there should be an establishment of 2 levels, and 2 Championship titles.  Each season we see the blow out games in the playoffs.  These games are in actually unsafe.  You would no sooner place a High School team on the ice with a top Jr team or NCAA team and anticipate a win, and while that is an equal assessment of the discrepancy of play it is very different. Add in the level of frustration for those players and its just a recipe for disaster.

2. That playoffs be established where the Top Four teams from each Conference advance.  Conference Champion earns home ice, and plays host to one team from each of the remaining 3 divisions in random draw.  This 4 region play off (sweet sixteen) would then be a round robin.  This round robin now is a direct reflection of the best teams from each district, each with representation in each region ensuring the best 4 teams advance to the Championship. 

3. The Championship should then be address as well.  Nationwide is a great venue.  Do not get me wrong.  But it is not appropriate for these games.  It would be far better to play these games in barns that are better suited for the scale of the event.  As examples, Goggin arena, BGSU, Covelli center, Huntington arena and other sub 9k seat facilities( 9k is still on the large end).  A loud venue, is an exciting venue.  Further the rotation takes advantage of all the state has to offer the hockey fan as well.

Are the above perfect?  I doubt it, but they are fair foundation to begin the conversation.