United hockey will join new conference next season

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United hockey will join new conference next season

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The United hockey team, which Kearsley players are part of, will change its conference next season.

The team will join the Mid-Michigan Hockey Conference, which will include these teams: Alliance (LakeVille-Goodrich), the FNV Griffins (Freeland-Nouvel-Valley Lutheran), the Mid-Michigan Storm (Gladwin), the Tri-Valley Titans (Swan Valley), Fenton-Linden, Swartz Creek-Flushing-Clio, and United (Kearsley-Brandon-Holly-Lake Fenton).

Essexville-Garber will not be participating in the conference next year.

Athletics Director Paul Gaudard thinks the move will be good for the players.

“It provides us with an opportunity to be part of a new league,” Gaudard said. “For our players to have an opportunity to earn All-League honors, as well.”

At the end of the season, awards and trophies will be handed out, and All-Conference teams will be selected by a vote from the coaches.

(W)hat is normal in high school hockey is that leagues and conferences exist just for hockey that involve schools that are not connected in any other sport.”

— Mr. Cody Inglis, MHSAA ass't. director

Sports conferences being built solely around hockey is not unusual.

MHSAA Assistant Director Cody Inglis said some conferences are being formed for hockey that are not seen in another sports.

“While it has not been a trend in high school hockey,” Inglis said, “what is normal in high school hockey is that leagues and conferences exist just for hockey that involve schools that are not connected in any other sport.”

Sophomore Trevor Keller, who plays for United, thinks this change will benefit the team.

“The change will help the team, considering we will play different teams,” Keller said. “We won’t play the same teams every game.”

The conference’s regular season will include two games against each team: one at home and one away.

The MHSAA rules will apply to all games in this conference.

When a game remains tied after three periods, the game will be decided by a shootout.

A win will mean two points for a team, while a shootout loss will result in one point for the team.

Gaudard also said this is not the first move for hockey in Kearsley.

“We did move into the Flint Metro League in 2008,” Gaudard said. “This is our first move since then.”

The team will have to get used to playing against better opponents, and its 4-13-1 record last season may be a concern.

United will, however, get to play teams that are closer to Flint.

“It (the move) helps fill our schedule with semi-local games,” Gaudard said.

The move may help United in the long run, but for now the team’s focus will be on preparing for next season.

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