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Park Rapids hockey co-op results in less ice time for players, according to some board members

Opinions are divided about the Park Rapids hockey co-op with Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.

Several interested parents and community members told the Park Rapids Area School Board Monday night their opinions on the pairing.

The co-op was formed last season as a solution to dwindling numbers of players in both districts. However, some members of the Park Rapids Hockey Association Board say the co-op was not a good idea and recommended discontinuing the cooperative.

Norita Smith, reading a prepared statement by the Hockey Association Board, said kids weren't getting enough ice time, the schedule was disrupted and some players quit because of the pairing.

The board also thought the pairing was impacting the youth program's numbers.

Also, she said the pairing cost $3,757 more by the end of the season. Approximately $1,000 was lost in concession sales as well due to three games being held in Walker, she said.

The Hockey Association Board was split on the issue, voting 5-5. The president broke the tie, making the vote 6-5 to recommend discontinuing the co-op.

Kerry Johnson spoke in favor of the co-op. As a coach, she said the co-op made sense because it is easier to fill a team and there is more competition.

She has seen camaraderie among the hockey players and it hasn't mattered where they were from, she said.

Paul Fairbanks, President of the Leech Lake Hockey Association, said he was very pleased with the results and still supports the pairing.

Jim Wallace, boys assistant varsity coach for 11 years, said he welcomed the co-op last year to avoid low numbers.

Roger Stewart, a parent, said he is in favor of continuing the co-op.

In speaking with his son, he thinks last season went well and the kids welcomed the competition.

"It took just one practice to become a team," he said.

Steve Olson is opposed to the co-op.

"After this year the numbers will be up again," he said.

Olson thinks Park Rapids will lose more kids in the lower grades as well if the co-op continues.

He is concerned about parents who don't have a lot of money that need to travel to Walker.

Athletic director John Schumacher and Superintendent Glenn Chiodo are both in favor of continuing the co-op.

The board will make a decision at its next meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24.

In other business, the board:

n Decided to start requiring middle school students to where uniforms for physical education classes in the fall of 2012.

Century Elementary Principal Joleen DeLaHunt said by waiting until next fall staff will have the rest of this school year to get the word out to parents about the change.

n Approved the extra-curricular new hire of Gary Vaudrin as head girl's hockey coach.

n Accepted the extra-curricular resignation of Joe Grimes as middle school girl's basketball coach. Grimes was also approved to volunteer with the girl's basketball program.

n Accepted the extra-curricular resignation of Sandy Aldrich as assistant speech coach, with regret and thanks for her 27 years in the speech program.

n Approved the 2010-11 report on curriculum, instruction and student achievement. The report will be sent to the state, Chiodo said.

n Accepted several donations, including 2,000 pounds of steel from BTD Manufacturing in Detroit Lakes for the industrial tech/metals program, 1,000 pounds of steel from CJJ Inc. in Detroit Lakes for the industrial tech/metals program, $250 from Larry Monico for the auto mechanics program, $250 from Joel and Jackie Rehm for the auto mechanics program, $100 from Park Rapids Ford for the girl's tennis program, $100 from Pleasant Avenue Dentistry for the girl's tennis program, $100 from Coldwell Banker for the girl's tennis program, $100 from St. Joseph's Area Health Services for the girl's tennis program, $30 from Steve and Janet Prenevost for the girl's tennis program, and $1,314.15 worth of office supplies from Patty Falk for the PTA.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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