Local schools merge hockey teams

Due to ice hockey not being a VHSL-approved sport, students interested in playing participate in a separate independent league outside of school.
Ice hockey is the ninth-most popular sport in the world according to Total Sportek, as it is a prominent in 76 countries worldwide. Despite this, the sport itself does not have VHSL approval.
The combined Mason-Edison-Marshall-Hayfield-Annandale High School Hockey club has a total of 21 players, four of which attend Marshall.
“I do not care about having other schools on the team,” forward and sophomore Daniel Lenshin said. “It would be great if Marshall had some more representation on the team, though.”
Compared to last season, fewer players in the club have been coming to the games.
“In all honesty, I actually hoped to have more players show up to games,” Lenshin said. “Last fall season, there was an average of around 20 to 25 players showing up each game. Now the most we have gotten is 14.”
Like VHSL, the Capitals Scholastic Hockey League [CSHL] has both junior varsity and varsity teams within the league. The club is classified as a varsity team, but they play both levels.
“JV games have much stricter rules on body contact and no checking is allowed in JV,” Lenshin said. “I do not mind playing against JV or varsity teams at all. That way we can gauge our skill in the league. I do take more importance to varsity games, though.”
For forward and sophomore Sam Garver, playing in a VHSL regulated ice hockey league would be better than playing in the CHSL.
“We would play people we already know,” Garver said.
But defense and junior Robert Newton said he would rather stay in the CSHL because of the collegiate opportunities club play provides.
“I probably would not [play Ice Hockey in VHSL] because I want to go for college,” Newton said. “Usually a lot of private clubs have better teams. I might play for fun, but in terms of serious play, I would just stick to my club team.”
The club has won one game so far, but they remain optimistic about the rest of their season.