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Oxford looks to team up with Avondale for hockey

June 11, 2014 - After a year of no high school hockey, Oxford is looking to form a co-op team with Avondale High School for next season.

"That's the plan right now," said Oxford High School's Athletic Director Mike Watson. "We haven't signed a cooperative agreement yet with them, that's not due until August."

After last year's no-season, Watson held a meeting and sent out a survey to parents of Grade 8-11 students to see if their was interest. Of those who responded and had competitive playing experience and were more interested in playing hockey for Oxford rather than club, Watson said they had enough kids to play, but not to sponsor their own team.

"We tried to be as proactive as possible and find another school that was in a similar situation, Avondale fit the bill," he added. "They practice and play out of some of the same arenas that we have before, including Troy Sports and the Onyx Ice Arena over in Rochester Hills."

While they are still in the infancy stage of talking with Avondale, Watson noted that Avondale is setting up their summer skates and trying to communicate that information back to the Oxford students.

When asked if he was happy to have a hockey team again, he responded that he's happy, anytime he can "accommodate kids and give them opportunity."

"Our goal is to try to provide opportunities in sports that lead to an MHSA Championship for kids who want to participate for their school," Watson said. "We don't try to create interest where there is none, we're just trying to accommodate interest for families and for kids (and for hockey this year) there is certainly interest."

While amateur club hockey and high school hockey have been in competition with one another in Michigan for years, it appears the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) is looking to make it so high school players can play both.

According to Mihockeynow.com MAHA announced a pilot program for the 2014-2015 in which they will offer an early season starting in August, which would end in November when high school tryouts begin.

"We think this program will benefit both MHSAA and MAHA hockey players," said Don Wright, MAHA high school hockey director, in a press release. "The current system creates a lot of uncertainty and stress on the players who want to play high school hockey. They have to gamble on which team they might make and hope they gamble correct so they have a place to play come November. These expanded opportunities will also allow for increased skill development of these players prior to the start of the MHSAA season."

Watson was happy to hear MAHA was finally addressing the conflict.

"That would be a huge benefit for not only our school but also all schools around the state of Michigan," Watson added. "This would move us a little bit closer to the way high school hockey and amateur hockey coordinates and co-exists in places like Minnesota and Wisconsin where (both programs) absolutely thrive."

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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