'Man-ville' hockey team dissolved; Rockville seeks new co-op with Bolton, Coventry

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon/Bolton/Coventry - posted Thu., May. 17, 2012
Coach Christian Stevenson would likely remain the head coach of the new Bolton-Coventy-Rockville team. File photos by Steve Smith.
Coach Christian Stevenson would likely remain the head coach of the new Bolton-Coventy-Rockville team. File photos by Steve Smith.

Pending some further approvals, high school hockey players in Vernon will have some different teammates next winter than in the recent past. Rockville High School Athletic Director Steven Phelps said the Rockville-Manchester-Stafford United cooperative program contract has run its course, and Rockville will likely join forces with Bolton and Coventry high schools for the 2012-13 season.

The home games would be played at the Bolton Ice Palace, which was the home to both the Rockville-Manchester-Stafford and Bolton-Coventry-Lyman teams over the last several seasons.

Phelps said that during the past season, coach Christian Stevenson brought to his attention that Manchester and Stafford would only be bringing four and three players next season, while Rockville would have an estimated five. “That really is not a sufficient number to support a hockey program,” Phelps said, adding that Bolton has eight players for next year and Coventry would have nine, for a total of 22.

The team would have a “no-cut” policy – meaning that players would be part of the team, regardless of ability. Ice time, Phelps said, is estimated at a cost of about $30,000 per year and would be divided among the three teams. Rockville has the $10,000 in the board’s budget, while Coventry and Bolton rely on their booster clubs for ice time funds. Phelps added that the cost may be lower. Rockville will cover the transportation costs, while the other two schools would pay for officials and security, which Phelps said comes out about equal. The respective schools would be responsible for their own liability insurance.

Board member Michelle Arn asked what will happen to the Manchester and Stafford programs. Phelps said the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association (CIAC) is looking into ways to help those players. He added that there may be other reshufflings of co-op programs in the area. Phelps said Bolton and Coventry had been in a cooperative program with Lyman Memorial, but the number of players from Lyman has greatly diminished, making that partnership less than feasible.

The Vernon Board of Education put its rubber stamp on the move unanimously, after asking a few questions about the logistics.
The athletic directors of the Central Connecticut Conference had previously approved the new co-op, and it is now awaiting approval from the CIAC.

Phelps said that since the new merger is unofficial, he could not yet name the head coach of the team, but implied that Stevenson would be the head coach, and added that coaches from the other two schools would be assistant coaches.

Before Stafford joined the co-op, Rockville-Manchester United (affectionately dubbed “Man-ville” by some) won the Division III state title in 2008, beating Bolton-Coventry-Lyman in the championship game.


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