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.