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Batavia United

Batavia/ND United gets go-ahead for yearly trip, to play Queensbury

By Joanne Beck
Feb. 17, 2023 Batavia United
2023 File Photo of a Batavia/ND United Hockey game at the David McCarthy Ice Arena in Batavia, by Steve Ognibene

It’s a rite of fall, when the pitch goes in for the boys Batavia/ND United Hockey team trip for an away game, and coaches Marc Staley and John Kirkwood made their presentation to the city school board this week.

The team saw a lot of action during the course of a season, Staley said, hosting Pittsford, Victor, Williamsville East, Grand Island and others at the David McCarthy Ice Arena in Batavia. This past year they were invited to Glens Falls Civic Center to play in January against Queensbury. 

“This is a no-joke trip,” Staley said. “This will really test our kids.”

The trip would include a two-game weekend on January 5 and 6, and would require an early dismissal on that Friday for a 5 p.m. start time for the first game. 

Considered to be traveling in “true hockey fashion,” the players would stay with their parents in a hotel per the usual arrangement, in a no-frills excursion to play hockey and return home on Saturday, he said.

The accompanying materials for the trip state that participation in these two games “will provide an opportunity from Batavia, Notre Dame, Oakfield-Alabama and Elba Central school athletes to compete against solid competition.” 

“Being an independent Class B team playing out of Section V, we do not have a league per se to play in,”  the coaches state in the document. “This has forced us to go out and generate our own 20-game schedule. The coaches agree wholeheartedly that the freedom and luxury of scheduling games outside of our section gives our student-athletes and our United program greater exposure to high school hockey across the state. Aside from the excellent competition, it’s also a lot of fun for the kids and families and helps build a unique culture.”

Only one board member had a question, and that was, what if a parent cannot make the trip — what happens to that student? When that has happened in the past, another family usually lets the student stay with them, Staley said. 

“We went to Albany last year. We typically like to travel once a year,” he said. “We had 11 home games and nine away games.”

Part of no-frills means that the parents provide the transportation and the lodging and meals during the trip, so there is no cost attached. The school board unanimously approved the trip. 

In a related vote, the board also approved a license agreement with Batavia Sports Facility Management for use of the David McCarthy Ice Arena, with rental fees of $225 per hour for weekday afternoons after 3 p.m. and for all weekend practice times and $150 an hour weekdays between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. The district/licensee will also pay $265 per hour for all game times. 

BND hockey player Bryce Feldmann honored for exceptional character

By Rhonda Pangrazio


To an outsider, the annual BND United hockey banquet appears to be an evening designed to recognize accomplishments in academics and athletics, but for the BND coaches, players, and families who are fortunate to be on the inside, the banquet represents this and more. 

Batavia hockey is deeply rooted in tradition and has a rich history and cherished legacy. The program encourages and molds excellent students, creates quality hockey players, and builds exceptional individuals who are eager to positively impact and support their community and its members. 

Current and previous teammates form lasting relationships, and they believe in and support the organization. Being a part of Batavia hockey means that you are forever bound by comradery and pride. Monday evening’s ceremonies began with the recognition of achievements in education and athletics and continued with acknowledgments of several deserving student-athletes for their philanthropy, character, and leadership. The Wayne D. Foster Foundation, Inc. was honored to partake in this special evening at Batavia High.   

Bryce Feldmann was one of the extraordinary student-athletes honored Monday night.  Feldmann is an exceptional individual who achieves in the classroom and on the ice. He was proudly selected as this year’s W.D.F. award recipient, earning a trophy, certificate, and scholarship for his impressive disposition, his wisdom, determination, fortitude, and his incredible display of leadership. 

Board member, Chase Pangrazio, selected Feldmann after attending and observing Feldmann and the team during several of this season’s BND games. Pangrazio was impressed by Feldmann and appreciated the qualities Feldmann exhibited – qualities of courage and kindness that reflect the meaning of the W.D.F award and the values of Wayne D. Foster, Pangrazio's grandfather. 

The Wayne D. Foster Foundation was privileged and proud to recognize a highly deserving Feldmann for his merit and ethics with the award created in honor and in memory of Wayne and his life.

Rhonda Pangrazio is the founder and president of the Wayne D. Foster Foundation, Inc., where Chase Pangrazio serves as a board member.  Wayne D. Foster was Chase's grandfather, who passed in December 2020. 

United nabs quarterfinals win, 4-2 over Brighton/HFL

By Howard B. Owens


In a tightly fought battle, Batavia Notre Dame United picked up a quarterfinals Section V win on Thursday over Brighton/HFL, 4-2.

Jameson Motyka led the way with a hat trick, scoring two goals in the second period (both with assists from Ivan Milovidov, and one on a power play), and then the icing on the cake at the 10:39 mark in the third period with an assist from Cooper Hamilton.

Brady Johnson also scored an unassisted goal in the second period.

United had 30 shots on goal.

Goalie Rhys Tanner blocked 16 shots.

United is the #3 seed in the tournament and plays #2 seed Victor in the semifinal on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Rochester Ice Arena.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene






United slaying dragons in early season contests

By Howard B. Owens


Batavia Notre Dame United captures the David McCarthy Memorial Hockey Tournament with a 6-5 victory over Section VI powerhouse Niagara Wheatfield.  

United found themselves in unfamiliar territory early in the second period trailing 3-1.

“We were playing well. We just needed to stick with it and stay positive," said Head Coach Marc Staley. "They are a great team. We knew this would be a battle.”

BND rattled off four goals in the second period, flipping the lead in the game from down by one to up by one.

“Our PowerPlay has been so strong this year," Staley said. "They took a few undisciplined penalties and made them pay”

BND went 4-6 on the PowerPlay during the game.

BND was only called for three minor penalties in the game and outshot NW 41-22.  

"This was a great night for the program," Staley said. "Winning your home tournament is always fun, but beating one of Section VI’s top teams in the meantime gives a nice confidence boost moving forward”

Now onto the next challenge.

Next, United takes on 2022 Section V Class A Champion Victor (7-1) on Friday night at the Rochester Ice Center.  

“This is the schedule we want," Staley said. "We want to play the top teams and see how we stack up.  Taking care of Bethlehem (8-0) from Section II, now beating Niagara Wheatfield (7-1-1) from Section VI, now another huge test with Section V’s best, Victor.

“The kids are hungry," he added. "They are focused.  And I love that they aren’t content.  We are still getting better.  I know we have another level up from here.  Our biggest tests are still in front of us.  We are building nicely towards those games”

Photos by Erin Staley.










United bounces back from two goal deficit to win 6-3 over Greece Storm

By Steve Ognibene


Story based on submission by BND  

BND started slow, but gained stream as the game went on exploding for six goals in 30 minutes to completely erase a 2–0 deficit after the first period.

"This was the first time all season we were trailing at the end of the first period, and we were down by two," said Head Coach Marc Staley. "But the kids did a really nice job gathering themselves and starting fresh in the second period.”

United scored four goals in the first eight minutes of the second period to go from down by two, two up by two.

“Executing on the power play like we did there in a second period gave us a huge boost," Staley said. "We are going to be a difficult team to beat if teams are going to take penalties against us.”

The Storm were called for three penalties in the early portion of the 2nd period, and BND capitalized on all three.  

Senior Cooper Hamilton scored on the power play only 29 seconds into the period, followed by another power-play goal from sophomore Brady Johnson.  A mere five minutes later, Junior forward Joe DiRisio buried a rebound and made it three power-play goals on three chances.

“Specialty teams are huge in hockey nowadays," Staley said. "We converted three of our four chances on the power play, and we killed off all five of the penalties called against us. I thought the kids did a great job executing in the big moments.”

Junior goaltender Frankie Falleti made 21 stops on 24 shots against. Also scoring for BND was sophomore Ivan Milovidov, sophomore Jameson Motyka, and sophomore Brady Carney, who registered his first ever Varsity goal. 

Senior, Ronin Hofmaster linished with three assists on the evening.

Junior, Defensman, O’Rian Lama chipped in two assists as well.

United out shot the Storm during the game 37 to 25.

“Greece has an excellent program and they are a huge school district," Staley said.  "All four of their high schools combine to create one varsity team. I’m really proud of our kids for going into their home barn and coming away with a victory. This is the bounce back we needed after the loss to McQuaid, and hopefully this gives us some nice momentum heading into “The McCarthy” this weekend”

BND United will be hosting the annual David McCarthy Christmas Tournament on Friday and Saturday.  Iroquois/Alden (4-1) will face off against Niagara/Wheatfield (5-0) at 6 p.m. on Friday evening. Following this game BND (4-1) will take on WFL Geneva (0-3) at 8 p.m.  The consolation game will take place at noon on Saturday, with the championship game scheduled to face off at 3 p.m.

United won the Tournament last year fending off a tough Webster Schroeder squad 5-4.  

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene






Batavia United opens season with 6-1 win on the road

By Howard B. Owens


Batavia United got its season off to a fast start on Tuesday, scoring three goals in the first period on its way to a 6-1 win over the WFL-Geneva Panthers.

The first goal came at 2:02 on a power play with Jameson Motyka and Brady Johnson feeding  Cooper Hamilton.

Later in the quarter, both Motyka and Ronin Hofmaster would score with assists from Hamilton and Jake Hutchins.

Brady Johnson, Motyka assist, scored in the second period.

Motyka scored on another power play in the third period with assists from Hofmaster and Johnson. 

The Panthers scored their lone goal at 7:34 in the third period and Hofmaster capped off the scoring at 12:06 with an assist from Hutchins.

Goalie Thys Tanner blocked 15 of the 16 shots sent his way.

“All in all, not a bad effort from the squad," said Head Coach Marc Staley. "It’s early in the season, so we are trying to gel as a team and get everybody on the same page. Not sure we have found our identity yet.  We’ve only had 10 practices together due to the storm, and the Thanksgiving holiday. And only two times did we have all of our players on the ice together.   We will learn from this game and get better.  We have a rather large test in front of us this weekend with back-to-back games against Starpoint, and Hamburg, two very strong Section VI teams.  We’re jumping right into the deep end.”

United plays Starpoint at the Northtowne Center in Buffalo on Friday at 5:30pm.  The team faces Hamburg at home at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Submitted photo.

Rotary takes a shot at helping local hockey players score more goals

By Howard B. Owens


Hockey players in Batavia have a new learning tool, one that Marc Staley, head coach of Batavia United, said will help younger players improve their technique and help the high school team get more proficient in its play.

Batavia Rotary Club gave a gift of a computer and large-screen monitor for players and coaches to review practices and games at the David M. McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena.

"It's an amazing gift by Rotary," Staley said. "It's obviously a pretty expensive piece of equipment, but it puts our local organization and certainly our high school program on par with anyone now in terms of having technology and ability to help these kids develop."

Staley said he's hoping youth coaches will use it to help members of their squads improve how they skate as hockey players.

"It's more technical -- how does your stride look? How's your head position, your knee, bend of your stick?" Staley said. "I mean, all those things when they can see themselves, it's a really impactful teaching tool than just telling a kid, you got to bend your knees, they don't get it, right? So this is something that right after practice, coaches can come off the ice and say, This is what I was talking about. So that's awesome."

For the high school team, which is used to reviewing a lot of film anyway, they now have a location right at their practice site to do it so the review is better synchronized with the practice.

"In particular, where we might run the power play for a couple of minutes then bring them right off, let them watch immediately what they did," Staley said. "Here's where you could have more poise. Here's the back door that's open. Here's where we need more movement. And then they get back on the ice and it can happen in some training. It just speeds up that learning curve for kids instead of waiting two days later when we can get the guy to the high school and they go, 'oh yeah, I remember that.'"

Photo: Marc Staley, head coach of Batavia United, Marlin Salmon, Batavia Rotary Club president, and John Kirkwood, assistant coach. Photo by Howard Owens.

Photos: Batavia United Hockey Bike Rally

By Howard B. Owens


Of the 21 teams in Section V hockey, Batavia United Head Coach Marc Staley told participants in a bike rally yesterday, 14 of them charge their players to participate.

Events such as the bike rally on Sunday are fundraisers for Batavia United, so players and their families don't get stuck with those fees.

The funds help buy uniforms and equipment that the players are then able to keep at the end of the season.

The rally isn't a race.  It was either a 5K or 10K ride, depending on how far participants wanted to go, led by Batavia Patrol Officer Peter Post.

Participants also received a Bike Rally T-shirt.




Trustee who wouldn't vote for Batavia-ND hockey merger says his questions have been answered

By Howard B. Owens


A Batavia City School District trustee who held up approval of a merger between the Batavia and Notre Dame hockey teams at the district's school board meeting on Thursday afternoon met with the schools' athletic directors and coaches and said he had his questions answered and looks forward to the agreement being on the board's next agenda.

The Batavian has attempted to clarify with John Marucci that his statement means he intends to vote in favor of the merger but he has not responded to two emails.

Three Four other members of the board have responded to emails and said they intend to support the measure. One hasn't responded.

Previously, The Batavian emailed five questions to Marucci about his apparent objections to the merger, trying to clarify his position and didn't get a response until yesterday. He didn't provide answers to the question but did make this statement:

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. Just so you know that today at 3:15, I was able to meet with BCSD BOE President Alice Ann Benedict, BCSD AD Mike Bromley and hockey coaches Marc Staley and John Kirkwood. We had a very lengthy and thorough discussion about the proposed merger between Notre Dame and Batavia as it pertains to hockey. I feel very satisfied that I had my questions and concerns answered and look forward to having this item on our agenda for our August 5th BCSD BOE Meeting. 

At last week's meeting, Marucci expressed concern about other schools in the county being eased out of a combined hockey program with Batavia and that once current players from those districts have graduated, students at those schools would have to attend Notre Dame if they wanted to play hockey. He suggested Notre Dame recruits athletic students and that he was concerned the merger wouldn't be fair to Batavia students.

Our questions to Marucci included trying to find out how the merger wouldn't be fair to Batavia students. He didn't answer that question.

At the meeting, he said, "I just want clarification," and, "I'm not trying to be that guy but I guess I'm being that guy."

With two seats vacant on the board due to resignations and one person absent, Marucci's unwillingness to vote to approve the agreement meant there wasn't a quorum, so the board had to table the matter until its Aug. 5 meeting.

The merger would mean Notre Dame, which has won two sectional championships in recent years under Head Coach Marc Staley, and Batavia players would form a single unit.

Last week the schools announced the new team would be known as Batavia United.

Advocates of the merger argue that the merger would allow both schools to have a JV program, which will help produce a more successful program and end the dangerous practice of including JV-aged and -sized kids on varsity rosters.

And yes, students at schools such as Le Roy, Alexander, Oakfield-Alabama, and Pembroke, who want to play hockey in the future, will need to attend a private school such as Notre Dame. Which is how it was for those schools before Batavia, in a bid to increase its hockey numbers seven years ago, accepted those schools into its hockey program.

Since that realignment, Batavia has won 13 games with only two of those wins coming against Section V opponents and no wins against teams with winning records.

The merger is going to get the support of at least three trustees.

Statement from Alice Benedict:

I wholeheartedly support the Batavia Notre Dame Hockey merger. It will help both schools be able to offer hockey opportunities for grades 7 through 12.

Statement from John Reigle:

Thank you for reaching out to me regarding the hockey merger. 

As you are aware we tabled the agenda item at our last school board meeting for some final clarification and questions. It is a big decision for our district and I’m glad our board of education is putting in so much collaborative thought and consideration into the topic. Unfortunately, our athletic director and/or the coaches were unable to attend the last meeting to have more discussion on the topic. However, it is my understanding they were able to meet with our board president and Vice President yesterday to discuss. 

After speaking with some hockey families from both schools, along with learning more of Coach Staley’s & Coach Kirkwood’s goals and intentions for the United program, I am in favor of the merger. I look forward to bringing back a competitive hockey program to our city that the student-athletes, our schools, and our community are proud of. 

Statement from Barbara Bowman:

I am in complete support of the hockey merger because it will be advantageous to BHS and ND students and the community in general.

Newly elected Trustee Jennifer Lendvay did not respond.

UPDATE: Lendvay's statement: 

I am in favor of the merger of the BHS/ND hockey teams and look forward to seeing them play.

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