Category: Ice hockey

Summer 4 on 4 Tournament gives some Section 2 hockey teams a chance to practice their creativity and teamwork

By ROB JONAS

GLENS FALLS – There is a certain flow to 4-on-4 hockey that you can’t get when teams skate five per side. The rink opens up, there is more room to maneuver and you create more scoring opportunities.

This is one of the reasons why Queensbury hockey coach Dean Williams created the High School Hockey Summer 4 on 4 Tournament two years ago.

“Four-on-four hockey promoted puck movement. It promotes creativity,” said Williams. “You don’t have right wing, left wing, center and defense. You’ve got four hockey players on the ice playing offense or defense.”

The first two editions of the 4-on-4 Tournament did not draw many Section 2 teams. However, Williams moved the tournament one week earlier this year than when he scheduled it the first two times, and it resulted in an expanded eight-team field representing six Section 2 programs – Queensbury, Shenendehowa, Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa, Saratoga Springs, Christian Brothers Academy and Adirondack (a combined program between Glens Falls, South Glens Falls and Hudson Falls).

“It was a challenge to get teams the first two years because it was a week later in August, after fall teams began practicing,” said Shenendehowa hockey coach Juan de la Rocha. “A lot of kids play football in the fall.”

The first two days of the tournament – August 10 and 11 at Cool Insuring Arena – were played in a round-robin format. The eight teams were divided into two divisions, and each team played a total of three games. The first place teams from each division met in the championship game August 12, with the second, third and fourth place teams meeting in consolation contests.

Games were played in two 25-minute halves with running time. The clock was stopped in the event of a penalty or in the final two minutes of the contest if the goal differential was less than three. The championship game was played in two 30-minute periods with running time, and overtime was allotted, if necessary.

The 4-on-4 format promoted back-and-forth action, a lot of goals and a lot of saves. Coaches cared more about how their players performed than the final scores.

“It’s an opportunity to see your team before the regular season begins,” said de la Rocha. “I want to see creativity, but I also want to see how unselfish they can be [with the puck.]”

“Scores don’t matter, but I’d rather have an 8-7 game where it’s back and forth than if it is one-sided,” said Williams.

Queensbury and Adirondack struggled the most during the tournament, primarily because they split their squads into two teams. Williams said he wants to create more of a competitive balance next year by creating divisions based age level and experience.

“I want to have a futures division and a varsity division,” said Williams. “The futures division would be for eighth and ninth graders who would be trying out for varsity for the first time, and the varsity division would be for the older players.”

The 4-on-4 tournament is part of Section 2 hockey’s strategy for keeping high school players involved in the sport beyond the regular season, which runs from November through February. Section 2 hockey coaches also created a “wrap program” in the fall where players can either try out for one of two elite teams (18-and-under, 16-and-under) or play for their community’s team. The wrap program holds its playoffs in the spring, once the regular high school season ends.

“The wrap program has helped [improve play and retain talent], especially the first couple of years,” said de la Rocha. “A lot of what we’re up against is a lot of youth [travel] teams telling our kids, ‘You play 20 games; we play 50.’ The wrap program gives our kids an opportunity to play more games.”

Having an event such as this weekend’s 4-on-4 tournament also helps the Section 2 coaches’ efforts.

“I like it a lot. It gives the kids an opportunity to see how creative they can be,” said de la Rocha.

A photo gallery from the tournament can be found here.

08.11.18 BHBS @ Shen HockeySection 2 Showcase
Photo by Robert Dungan
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Scenes from the High School Hockey Summer 4 on 4 Tournament

The third annual High School Hockey Summer 4 on 4 Tournament pitted six Section 2 squads – Queensbury, Adirdonack (Glens Falls, South Glens Falls and Hudson Falls), Shenendehowa, Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa, Christian Brothers Academy and Saratoga Springs – against each other in a round-robin tournament August 10-12 at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. Each game consisted of two 25-minute halves with running time. Photos by Robert Dungan

2018-19 State Tournament Primer

By ROB JONAS

It may be early August, but it’s never too early to think about attending a New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship. Here is where you need to go if your school’s team (or one of its athletes) qualifies for a state tournament during the 2018-19 school year.

Fall sports
Girls tennis: Tri-City Tennis Club, Latham – October 27-29
Cross Country: Sunken Meadow State Park, Smithtown (Long Island) – November 10
Boys soccer: Middletown High School, Middletown – November 10 and 11
Girls soccer: SUNY Cortland, Homer High School and Cortland High School – November 10 and 11
Field hockey: Williamsville North High School, Williamsville (outside Buffalo) – November 10 and 11
Girls swimming and diving: Ithaca College, Ithaca – November 16 and 17
Football
East semifinals: Middletown High School, Middletown – November 16 and 17
Finals: Carrier Dome, Syracuse University – November 23 and 24
Boys volleyball: Capital Center, Albany – November 17
Girls volleyball: Cool Insuring Arena, Glens Falls – November 17 and 18
Golf (Note: Regular season is played in fall, but state tournament is held in the spring)
Girls tournament: Deerfield Country Club, Rochester – May 31 through June 2
Boys tournament: Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell University, Ithaca – June 1 through 3

Winter sports
Wrestling
Dual Meet Tournament: SRC Arena, Onondaga Community College, Syracuse – January 26
Individual championships: Times Union Center, Albany – February 22 and 23
Skiing: Gore Mountain, North Creek – February 25 and 26
Boys swimming and diving: Nassau Aquatic Center, East Meadow (Long Island) – March 1 and 2
Gymnastics: Cold Spring Harbor High School, Cold Spring Harbor (Long Island) – March 2
Competitive cheerleading: Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester – March 2
Indoor track and field: Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex, Staten Island – March 2
Bowling – AMF Strike-N-Spare Lanes, Syracuse – March 8 through 10
Ice hockey: Harborcenter, Buffalo – March 9 and 10
Boys basketball: Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena, Binghamton – March 15 through 17
Girls basketball: Hudson Valley Community College, Troy – March 15 through 17

Spring sports
Boys tennis: Site to be announced – May 30 through June 1
Boys lacrosse
East semifinals: University at Albany, Albany and Adelphi University, Garden City (Long Island) – June 5
Finals: St. John Fisher College, Pittsford (outside Rochester) – June 8
Girls lacrosse: SUNY Cortland – June 7 and 8
Track and field: Middletown High School, Middletown – June 7 and 8
Baseball: Various sites around Binghamton – June 14 and 15
Softball: Moreau Park, South Glens Falls – June 15

For more information about NYSPHSAA championships, visit nysphsaa.org.