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Hockey at Concord Academy

Zane Bobo, a Concord Academy Boyne student, races after the puck (C. Shumaker/BC Gazette)

A Concord Academy Boyne event will feature hockey awards and a chili cook-off on Thursday, February 1st at 5:30 pm.

Barry Cole, business manager for Concord Academy of Boyne, came up with the idea for the hockey tournament when the staff was organizing parking lot hockey for students during the winter months.  “It arose out of lunch time recess and it was something to do for the kids during winter time,” Cole said.   One teacher asked, ‘Why don’t we have a tournament?’ and since then it has been a big success.”

So, Cole went on to say, staff and students decided to continue the tournament the following year, and they have been doing it ever since.  All of the students are allowed to participate in the tournament, and two divisions have been made to separate the elementary students from the high school students.  One division is called the Premiere Division, which caters to the younger athletes, and the Superior Flight, which is for the older students volunteering to play.  “At any given time anyone who wants to play can,” Cole said.

Cole went on to say parents don’t need to worry about the safety factor of the games, because staff monitor for illegal behavior.  Some of the rules that apply include no body checking, slashing, and there is no lifting of the puck because they simply don’t have the ability to do it.  “If I saw anything bad going on then we wouldn’t be doing it anymore,” Cole said. “We wouldn’t bother to keep playing.”

Currently, there are eight teams of five students in grades one through six. And, for grades seven through 12, there are eight teams of six; 88 students are participating out of the 195 students enrolled at Concord Academy Boyne.  Students play in a lower rink that is made up of the school’s second park lot—a lower leveled lot that is reserved for elementary parking.  The lower level, said Cole, is flatter and it is empty during the day.  “Since the elementary students don’t have cars to drive, they’re dropped off, so it makes for a good spot to play,” Cole said.

The students learn more than just sport techniques from the activity. And, Cole said, one thing in particular is the idea of good sportsmanship.  “They get to understand competition and dealing with losing while still having a good spirit,” Cole said. “These are things that are good for growing and maturing.”  However, Cole doesn’t want the hockey tournament to be just a reward. He would like to see it reinforce education.  “I was a varsity athlete and those sports were always good for me,” he said. “I was better at school and it contributed to my academic success.”

During a special ceremony after the tournament medals will be awarded.  “The only people who ever saw the medals received before were the kids who were playing,” Cole said. “So I thought, ‘Why don’t we have a hockey awards night?’”  The awards night will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Concord Academy Boyne.  Cole and the staff at Concord Academy made a point to not only honor the students who engaged in the tournament and earned medals for their skills, but also to honor students who persevered.  “Not only do I give out medals, but I also give out a host of other awards that people have donated throughout the year,” he said.  Sometimes, said Cole, it has to do with what a student did during the tournament instead of overall performance.

“Last year, we had a senior boy who was very good and in the semi-finals, but he was slipping and falling all over the place,” Cole said. “Well, someone had given me an Adidas baseball cap and I took the letters and made an acronym for: All Day I Dream About Standing.”   While awards are the highlight of the event, there will also be a chili cook-off in which the winner will be selected by monetary vote.  “People vote for the one they liked the best and the winner gets bragging rights for the year,” Cole said.  Last year’s award ceremony was the first to hold a chili cook-off, and it went so well Cole decided to do it again this year.

Cole said the event is for everyone, but he warns chili makers everywhere of his disposition.

“While I do publicize the event, I also trash talk,” Cole said jokingly. “I haven’t won yet, but I am still going to bring my pot of chili.”

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