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Tough lessons for Shen hockey

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Tough lessons for Shen hockey

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tough lessons for Shen hockey

This winter was already labeled a challenging year for the Shenendehowa varsity ice hockey team after graduating 12 players that scored more than 150 goals last year and captured its sixth-consecutive Section II Capital District High School Hockey League title. The roster contained a few familiar faces, but also included a slew of new players thrust into the spotlight as a Plainsmen hockey player looking to capture a seventh straight title.

The 2008-2009 season and the chance of repeating went from challenging to impossible for the remaining Shenendehowa ice hockey players and its coaching staff due to the mistakes made by almost half of the squad on a road trip to the SUNY Morrisville tournament.

To capture a Section II title in any sport, in any class, it takes a determined group of athletes, long practices, key victories, remaining healthy, eligible and a having a little luck along the way helps too.

Those hopes of a seventh consecutive title went literally, up in smoke.

A decision was made by several players to obtain, transport, light up and smoke marijuana late Dec. 29 after a win.

They were caught by their coach, reported immediately and the school administration ruled that the infraction warranted an expulsion from the team for eight of the 12 players involved.

Last year during interviews the team's seniors they spoke of the pressure of repeating and not wanting to be the team that didn't win a Section II title.

This year's squad, the players removed from the team, the players serving multiple game suspensions and the 16 players who will attempt to make the most of the remaining season will never forget what could have been.

How's that for a legacy.

For the upperclassmen, some of their high school hockey seasons are over. For the underclassmen, they have to live with the fact that their season was cut short by a foolish decision rather than unfortunate injuries.

The media was energized regarding the infraction and the subsequent penalties. My story about it ran on the front page of The Saratogian two days in a row and on the cover of today's Community News.

I've had the privilege of covering Southern Saratoga County's athletes for the past 11 years and written hundreds if not thousands of stories about the successes, wins and efforts of various teams.

I've also written about teams that have been short athletes due to "a violation of team rules" and been in the court room when sentencing was handed down to athletes involved in other incidents.

But the event surrounding this week's dismissals are historic and for all the wrong reasons.

Now that the penalties have been levied there remains a question mark hanging over each and every period played of "the new season."

What if (X-player) was on that line? What if (X-player) was still on the penalty kill, or the power play? Would they have won that game? Would the season have been salvaged? Could they have won a seventh consecutive title?

We will never know.

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At 1:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Hardy, according to the list of names you provided in the hockey house link there isn't a single one of the 13 who were charged in the hockey house incident of 2007 on the Shen Hockey 2008-2009 roster before or after the Morrisville incident. I'd like to respectfully ask you acknowledge that rather than insinuate these kids had something to do with this as well.


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