Sunday, March 9, 2014

A few more thoughts on state hockey final controversy

You may read elsewhere - and likely have heard by now since it went viral - about the Ohio High School Athletic Association declaring the state hockey final March 8 at Nationwide Arena a tie.

St. Ignatius and Sylvania Northview were tied, 1-1, after seven overtimes, and citing player safety, the state governing body determined co-champions was the best course of action.

My two cents: It wasn't.

Here are a couple more cents, if you'll permit me:

-- With Lake Catholic's loss in a state semifinal to St. Ignatius on March 7, I wasn't anywhere near Nationwide for the state final, and the area high school hockey season was subsequently done. But the unusual nature of this situation compelled me to write about it after hearing about it, especially after covering Greater Cleveland high school hockey for the last 14 years.

-- To be clear, the OHSAA should be praised for trying to look out for player safety. No one should fault them for that. That's why they have strict rules in place for, say, severe weather or adverse field conditions - they don't want anyone getting hurt. They are good people who mean well. The difference is, in those instances, they come back and restart the action.

-- It is a national rule that shootouts cannot be contested in high school hockey. Perhaps since this story went national, maybe it'll spark a national change in thought as to putting shootouts in place. At the very least, maybe each state should be afforded the right to apply the rule the way they want.

-- Here are some media outlets who covered the story:
Fox Sports
Toronto Sun
Bleacher Report

--  Attempting to add a little levity, what do they do with the state title trophy - saw it in half or make two?

One thing is for sure: This is a day none of us affiliated with high school hockey in Ohio will ever forget. It doesn't matter St. Ignatius is on the opposite side of Cleveland from our area or if Sylvania Northview is in an opposite corner of Ohio.

Like it or not, it's a story that extends far beyond the usual now.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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