Division I, state champs?


To the Editor:

Having spent 40 years as a high school administrator, athletic director, coach and teacher, I’m completely baffled and embarrassed by the hockey principal’s committee and executive director of the RIIL.

The Crusaders of Prout defeated the Broncos of Burrillville on Saturday night, March 11, for the Division I championship hockey title. The Division I tournament involves the Division I teams that did not qualify for the State Tournament. Burrillville finished 5th with a 6-10 record. Prout finished 6th out of an eight-team league with a 5-11 record.

My question is, as a former hockey coach, whose idea was it to have a state championship tournament for two teams who didn’t qualify for the state tournament in the first place?

Has “political correctness crept into the RIIL? If you don’t finish in the top 4 of your league, you don’t qualify for the play-off, period! No, now we need to start a new division for 5th and 6th place teams to vie for a title for non-qualifiers to be polite. Oh, I get it, we need teams with losing records to have a change for a trophy and medals that mean absolutely nothing.

Back in the day when I played, then coached, if you didn’t finish in the top 4, you didn’t qualify for the state title. Your season was over and you went and watched the top teams compete.

I’m not saying that the 5th and 6th teams didn’t play hard, but they didn’t play hard enough to earn a spot in the “real” state tourney.

In my experience with hockey, over 40 years, you’re doing a disservice to your school, coaches and players by allowing them to play for a “bogus-concocted” tourney that is meaningless and serves no purpose to anyone involved. The RIIL should know better to allow two teams to compete for a state championship when they have no business competing at all. However, I do praise the effort of Prout and Burrillville, as they were put in a “no win” situation by the RIIL.

Richard D. Walsh

East Greenwich


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