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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE --March 31, 1999
Contact: John Johnson or Mike Clifford-- 517.332.5046
Hockey Tournament Expands To Three Divisions
& Remains In Flint
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- March 31 -- Hockey
matters, including the reclassification of its tournament into
three equal divisions beginning next year, highlighted the actions
taken by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School
Athletic Association during its annual Winter meeting here on
The reclassification of hockey from Classes A and B-C-D will
result in three nearly equal divisions of approximately 43 schools
each. The rapid growth of ice hockey as an interscholastic sport
in recent years, particularly in Class A, had necessitated the
addition of a district level to that tournament. The reclassification
will return the ice hockey tournament to a regional-final round
format, with most regionals consisting of five teams.
The Council also voted to keep the MHSAA Ice Hockey Finals in
Flint through the year 2003. The first two years of the extension
will be played in the current IMA Sports Arena, and beginning
in 2002, the games will take place in a new, 8,500-seat IMA,
which will be constructed alongside the existing facility.
Flint has hosted all divisions of the Ice Hockey Finals from
1979 to 1987, and each year since 1992, and has hosted finals
in 23 of the 25 years since the MHSAA began sponsoring a tournament
in that sport in 1975. Other sites considered were Cobo Arena
in Detroit, and the DeltaPlex in Grand Rapids.
"Flint offers the most experienced and interested local
management for the Ice Hockey Finals, and conducts games in the
MHSAA tournament at the district, regional and quarterfinal levels
every year as well," said John E. "Jack" Roberts,
executive director of the Association. "Flint is the best
North to South location for this tournament final, and we're
looking forward to playing in the new IMA Sports Arena, even
as local management works to improve the existing facility."
Conduct concerns in ice hockey were also addressed by the Council,
in light of a season which saw 97 player ejections, a record
9 coach ejections and 1 suspended game during the recently-completed
season. A vote was taken to seek input from tournament managers
at all levels of the 1999 tournament, and to consider at its
May meeting, proposals which would assign the MHSAA Ice Hockey
Committee the responsibility of taking action to restore confidence
that interscholastic hockey in general and the MHSAA postseason
tournament would be conducted in an atmosphere that is appropriate
for educational athletics; and to conduct a mandatory meeting
of administrators of all ice hockey sponsoring schools if their
team wishes to play in the 2000 MHSAA tournament.
Girls soccer will also be reclassified based on its continued
growth into four equal divisions, effective in 2000. The girls
soccer tournament had been expanded to three divisions in 1998,
but with the addition of more schools, will go to four nearly
equal divisions of approximately 80 schools.
The Council also voted to approve additional procedures related
to the expanded MHSAA Football Playoffs, including penalties
for schools which break football contracts for reasons other
than league actions; the reclassification of teams wishing to
play at a higher classification; and approving the use of home
fields prior to the Regional round of the tournament, regardless
of the distance between the two schools.
A school which is found to break a football contract for reasons
other than league actions will be required to forfeit that game
as far as the playoffs are concerned, and the opponent will receive
a forfeit win, which will count towards playoff qualification.
If the school breaking the contract schedules a new opponent,
the game will not count for either school towards the MHSAA Playoffs.
A school which has been forfeited to as a result of an opponent
breaking a contract may secure a new opponent, and then that
game will be counted towards the playoffs instead of the forfeit
For those schools wishing to opt up to a higher classification
for the football playoffs, their enrollment will be set at the
mid-point of the higher classification. For the two District
games in the playoffs, home fields will be designated, even if
the competing schools are 200 or more miles apart. Previously,
neutral sites were assigned if two schools were 200 or more miles
from each other. That rule will continue to be applied at the
Regional level of play.
The Representative Council is the 19-member legislative body
of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools.
Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation
of females and minorities; and the 19th position is occupied
by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.