Local girls high school hockey team folds

Just two squads to play this season


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CER goalie Arika Mercer attempts to keep the puck out of her net during a game against Service-East last season. Chugiak-Eagle River is not fielding a team this season.

STAR FILE PHOTO

Female Chugiak and Eagle River High students won’t have the chance to represent their schools on the ice this season.

Chugiak-Eagle River decided to forgo the 2013-14 hockey season after the league went from four to two teams.

The Scotty Gomez Foundation is operating the outsourced girls hockey program this year after the Anchorage School District cut it due to dwindling numbers.

In the past, the eight Cook Inlet Conference schools had formed four teams — South-Bartlett, Dimond-West, Service-East and Chugiak-Eagle River. After the Gomez Foundation permitted Service and East players to join South and Bartlett, parents of Chugiak and Eagle River skaters decided to pull the plug, CER coach Randall Sperry said.

With just 11 skaters and a goalie, CER wouldn’t stand a chance against two powerhouses, Sperry said. That wasn’t something parents wanted to put their kids through, he said.

Sperry said his request to absorb players from other schools was denied. Only after CER folded did the Gomez Foundation offer to let Chugiak and Eagle River kids join the four-school team, he said.

Just one CER player is interested in skating with Service-East-South-Bartlett, Sperry said. That many schools on one squad takes away the feel of a high school team, he said.

“It ends up being essentially a club team,” Sperry said.

All but two of CER’s girls are playing club hockey this year, Sperry said, which will make for a much more enjoyable season.

“They can have a rough year playing high school or a fun year playing rec,” he said.

CER isn’t the only team to opt out this season. Fairbanks and Mat-Su have also disbanded, leaving just two high school teams in the state.

Despite its small roster, Sperry said, CER would have fielded a decent team had the league remained unchanged.

“All of them had some experience,” he said.

Sperry said he hopes Chugiak-Eagle River will be back on the ice next year. As for this season, he said, everyone is disappointed.

“All the girls were looking forward to playing high school,” Sperry said. “It’s a bummer.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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