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Sports mergers top Lake Placid school board agenda

April 4, 2017
By ANTONIO OLIVERO - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Ice hockey athletes from the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake high schools may compete on the same team next year.

And students from Lake Placid High School may be able to join the Saranac Lake High School football team.

The two potential sports mergers will be discussed at tonight's Lake Placid Central School District board meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the district's administrative offices adjacent to the Lake Placid Middle-High School.

Article Photos

Saranac Lake’s Lea Hill fires a wrist shot past Lake Placid defender Ashley Strack while Blue Bombers goalie Brooke Paries follows the puck during a 2017 game.
(News photo — Lou Reuter)

The reasons for inter-school mergers within the two sports are outlined in a Lake Placid Middle-High School athletic department letter submitted to the board. Decreasing numbers in Lake Placid's girls ice hockey program is cited as the primary reason, as the athletic department writes they believe the program won't be able to field a requisite number of players after the pending graduation of current team members.

"Next year we will have 11 to 13 girls, one of which is from Tupper Lake, the other from AuSable Valley," the letter reads. "Of those, 5 to 6 will be seniors. With those numbers, one or two injuries, academic ineligibility or a suspension it puts the whole team in jeopardy."

The letter continues to say that after next year's seniors depart, the team would be left with one to three potential athletes coming up each year. The Lake Placid High School athletic department claims the Saranac Lake High School program will be in the same position after next season, with numbers in the mid-20s next year dropping to the mid-teens in 2018-2019.

"Both schools agree that this is the best time to merge when we both have similar numbers," the letter reads.

The planned merger would be 50-50 in terms of number of players between the two schools and ice time and home games would be split between the Lake Placid Olympic Center's 1932 arena and the Saranac Lake Civic Center. Each school would provide transportation to the other school's facilities and transport to away games.

As for team uniforms, both schools would incur the added cost of new uniforms during the first season.

"We have talked about new jerseys the first year that the schools pay for," the letter reads, "shells that the kids fundraise for and the kids buying their own socks. We want to keep costs down but feel that if we are going to do this right we need to commit fully and getting new uniforms would make it a truly 50-50 merger as opposed to wearing one school's jersey over another's."

The two schools currently merge for boys and girls lacrosse and tennis.


Football merger

Lake Placid also has three to four students who have expressed interest in playing football, which the school doesn't offer.

The athletic department said the students have contacted Saranac Lake Athletic Director Eric Bennett about the feasibility of joining the Red Storm program. Discussions have continued with the two school's athletic departments and Lake Placid Central School District Superintendent Roger Catania.

The Lake Placid athletic department said they see the merger as similar to the nature of the current situation with the school's lacrosse players, who are absorbed into the Saranac Lake program. As such, the Lake Placid school board would have to approve additional travel expenses to transport Lake Placid football players to Saranac Lake for practices and other competition.

The Lake Placid athletic department also expressed that it doesn't believe providing students the option to play football at Saranac Lake would negatively affect the number of students who compete within the school's boys soccer program.

"At this time, we have very strong soccer programs with numbers in the twenties for each level," the athletic department writes. "The boys who have expressed interest in playing football are not soccer players nor do they run cross-country. I do not feel a merger would impact these existing programs. Yes, we will have others who want to try football because it is something new, however I do not see us having more than seven to 10 boys play."



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