Ice hockey team to be left out of yearbook, pep rallies
The ice hockey club team will be left out of Blair's yearbook and pep rallies this school year in compliance with county policy that attempts to separate club sports from schools.
The main reason for this move is legal. "If a club sport is linked to a school in any way, then there may be an assumption that the school is carefully monitoring that activity," said Dr. William Beattie, coordinator of athletics for MCPS. "There are some significant liability issues."
According to Beattie, things that constitute a "link" include incorporating a club sports team into the yearbook or awards ceremonies, and especially having the school name. "Using the school name, that's huge," Beattie said. Beattie added in an e-mail that the school newspaper should not give more attention to the ice hockey club team at Blair than they would give to any other non-Blair related group or activity.
Jacob Lee, a social studies teacher and the yearbook sponsor, had included ice hockey in the yearbook for four years. According to Lee, last year was the first indication that he was not supposed to. "It was right before the book was distributed," Lee said. "[Mr. Gainous] said that [ice hockey] can't be included because it's not an officially recognized sport."
According to assistant principal Linda Wanner, club teams like the ice hockey team are little more than a group of Blair students that just happen to go to Blair. "There is no ice hockey team at Blair or any other high school in the county, I believe," Wanner wrote in an e-mail. "Therefore we cannot restrict something that does not exist at the school. It is not a county-sanctioned sport." Additionally, Wanner writes that the ice hockey team is not to be included in announcements or pep rallies.
The problem with sanctioning club sports such as ice hockey lies mainly in the costs of maintaining those sports. "Price is definitely an object," said Beattie. For each new sport introduced, costs for coaches, referees, uniforms, equipment, and playing space have to be compensated for. "The price tag becomes potentially staggering," Beattie explained. "We can't afford to offer anything under the sun."
Attendance has been chronically low at hockey games for the past couple years. "Usually, at a home game, I'd say [there are] 20 people, 25 maybe," said junior Graham Matthews, who has been on the team for three years.
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