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Town to Pay NCHS Girls' Ice Hockey Coaches

Though it remains a non-varsity sport by state standards, New Canaan High School's girls' ice hockey is popular enough here to merit more town support, officials say.

 

Saying girls’ ice hockey is well-established in the area and should be treated the same as the boys’ program under Title IX, New Canaan district officials are seeking to start paying the team’s coaches.

Since it’s a club sport, the coaches for the New Canaan High School girls’ hockey program in the past have been paid by money raised by parents, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said.

Now, as part of its budget request of the town for next year, the district is seeking $7,000 to pay the team’s head and assistant coaches. The payment must be approved by the Board of Finance and Town Council, with other allocations.

It’s a change that officials in New Canaan have considered for a couple of years, according to Athletic Director Jay Egan.

“We think that from an equity perspective it’s the right thing to do—‘right’ in that it [the program] has been organized for a sustained amount of time, has a schedule and we can’t assume there will be a critical mass [of girls’ high school ice hockey programs] in the state to give it varsity sports status,” Egan told Patch.

“This will make girls’ ice hockey completely aligned, with respect to town support, to the boys’ program, and looking strictly through a Title IX filter, we feel that is what we should do,” he continued.

New Canaan's girls hockey programs have been hugely successful, capturing recent FCIAC and state titles.

High School sports programs in the state are overseen by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, or “CIAC.”

According to Egan, that agency determines whether a sport is eligible for interscholastic status depending on how many programs exist in Connecticut and other factors.

It isn’t clear how many Connecticut ice hockey programs there are for girls. CIAC officials could not be reached for comment.

Egan said that there’s a concentration of girls programs in this area—specifically, in the geography covered by the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, or FCIAC.

“The FCIAC is one of the pockets in the state where there are enough teams to have competition,” he said, adding that areas in greater New Haven and Hartford, as well as the Connecticut shoreline, also have teams.

The FCIAC recognizes girls’ ice hockey by providing programs with a schedule and championship, Egan said. Even so, statewide—given precious ice time and the sport’s high cost—it’s unlikely that enough different programs will launch to meet the CIAC standard for varsity designation.

Glen K Dunbar January 29, 2013 at 11:38 PM
So, the coach will get an additonal $7K in addition to his/her regular salary? Nice. Wish someone would give me $7K
jeepgirl January 30, 2013 at 12:41 AM
How about other club sports like crew?
Michael Dinan January 30, 2013 at 12:45 AM
@jeepgirl: New Canaan Athletic Director Jay Egan specifically mentioned crew as an example for comparison when we talked. Crew is run in spring and fall, both, he said, with just a few programs in all of Fairfield County (compared to dozens in girls' ice hockey, for example), so it does not rise to the same standard. -Mike
jeepgirl January 30, 2013 at 06:47 PM
Actually, crew is a year round sport. So what I am understanding from your comment is that if they don't stay within Fairfield County they can't be considered a varsity sport?
Michael Dinan January 30, 2013 at 06:57 PM
No, I believe what the athletic director is saying is that there is not a critical mass of crew programs in this area to be considered on a par with regular varsity sports -- that's the standard that the town applied in landing on its decision to pay for the girls' ice hockey coaches.

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