Not enough hockey players remain for Richfield to offer a boys' varsity program for the 2015-16 season. Holding out hope for a different outcome might have limited some players' options.This may more the result of changing demographics than Title IX-style sexism; Richfield is a Minneapolis school that is considerably less white than it was in the 1980s. But it's still striking that former boys' state tournament teams are vanishing while 167 girls' teams have appeared since it was sanctioned as a sport in 1994.
"We hung on longer than we should have," said Dave Boie, activities director and a 1990 Richfield graduate. "We were just trying to get through this year."
Boie said 19 players participated in summer hockey, a small but feasible number. The roster shrank to 11 skaters and two goalies by the season's start. Ready to soldier on, Boie and coach Dave Shute pulled back after two players were suspended for two games and another quit. Three or four remaining players, Shute said, "you couldn't even put on the ice. They've got hearts as big as a lion's, but they can't even protect themselves."
The decision to cancel the season was announced Thursday, 10 days after the start of official practices.... The Spartans' program made six state tournament appearances from 1962-91 and produced such players as Steve Christoff, Darby Hendrickson and Tom Ward. They struggled to stay competitive in recent years, dressing 18 players last year and finishing with a 2-22 record.
Friday, December 18, 2015
The boys' sports die
This won't mean anything to anyone unfamiliar with Minnesota hockey, but it is astonishing to me that a team that once boasted a formidable program is now history.