High school hockey is back on the ice. Many teams starting practice on Jan. 19, the first day the state lifted its sports ban. At Newington, their co-op team spent the first week meeting virtually before finally hitting the ice for practice this week.
Practice with a much different feel this year. Newington is a five-school co-op, so unable to separate into separate locker rooms, these players dressed for practice in the parking lot – rain or shine.
On the ice, Coach Dave Harackiewicz won’t be blowing any whistles. Instead, he’ll start and stop drills with the press of a button on his new hand whistle.
Along the boards, spray bottles of hand sanitizer and numbered bottles of water for each player.
And of course, for everyone, masks.
It's hard to breathe in them but I’m going to work with it,” said Kilian Ranger, a senior on the Newington Co-Op hockey team. “And being in school all day with a mask, it helped.”
Coach Harackiewicz said all the changes are tough, but they’re glad to be back together.
“Obviously, it's not ideal, but I think they just want to play,” said Harackiewicz. “We're just trying to adapt to make it as normal as we can for them, especially for the seniors.”
High school games can start on February 8.