MIAA hockey committee recommends area teams move to D-IV, looks for overtime to break ties

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The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's ice hockey tournament committee met on Thursday to discuss several topics, including the new alignments for the sport starting in the 2021-22 season.

By a vote of 10-0 with four abstentions, the committee recommended an alignment plan that would split boys ice hockey into four divisions. All three Berkshire County teams - the Drury, Mount Everett and Wahconah co-ops - would play in Division IV. The recommendation has to be accepted by the MIAA Tournament Management Committee.

The four divisions were decided on by the subcommittee after debate about how many divisions ice hockey should have. Starting with 49 teams in each of the divisions, the committee used a mixture of statistics and a questionnaire to member schools to create the divisions.

Division I would have 50 teams, D-II 49, D-III 60 and D-IV would have 36. Teams will be able to appeal their divisional placements.

Girls hockey will be split into two divisions, with 45 teams in each. Incidentally, almost every co-op girls team is in Division I with the exception of three co-ops formed with vocational schools. Division II would be mostly single-school teams.

The alignment changes will take effect for 2021-22. For the 2020-21 season, the Hockey Committee made one small change: The cut-off date, which will be on Feb. 18, 2021, will be at 6 p.m. Instead of 5 p.m. The vote to make that small change passed 11-0.

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The final vote of the day impacts overtime. Starting last year, the MIAA implemented a pilot program to test out a 4-on-4, 5-minute overtime. For last year and this year, the two years scheduled for the pilot, teams earn a tie and then play the overtime period.

By an 8-1 with one abstention vote, the Hockey Committee voted to try and make the change permanent. The rule change has to be submitted by June 1 to be included in the rules change process during the 2020-21 school year, and would take effect for the 2021-22 season, if passed.

Berkshire County teams did not play in the pilot OT program last year.

If, and when the OT rule becomes official, the team that wins the OT period would get two points while the loser gets 0. If the game ends tied after the extra period, each team would get a point.

Questions were raised about the impact overtime could have on MaxPreps seedings, which will be in place for the 2021-22 season. Daniel Shine, athletic director at Arlington Catholic High School, said that ties under MaxPreps "don't create a problem, but it would make it much cleaner if there was an overtime win."

Geoff Smith can be reached at gsmith@berkshireeagle.com, @GSmith_Eagle on Twitter and 413-496-6254.


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