FRANKLIN –– A desired location/venue is not necessarily about proximity to the competing schools for the MIAA boys’ and girls’ hockey tournaments.
And that is why the Tsongas Center (Lowell), Gallo Arena (Bourne), and Loring Ice Arena (Framingham) will be the host sites for the MIAA state semifinals March 11-12, one week before the state finals at TD Garden.
“We want these games to be great events,” said Scott Paine, the MIAA’s hockey tournament director at the association’s ice hockey committee meeting Tuesday morning.
“We’re going to outside venues that we don’t control, but we do know that Tsongas, Loring, and Gallo love to host these events and they do a great job — that’s an important part of this as well.”
“We can’t just go to a rink because it’s closer to the two schools,” continued Paine, the athletic director at Scituate High. “We need to go to facilities where they want the games and they will do exactly what they need to do to make them great events and these three venues have certainly [done that].”
▪ The regular-season cutoff for hockey is Thursday, Feb. 23. Following a day of confirming records and seeding via power rankings, the postseason pairings will be released Feb. 25. Preliminary and first-round games will be Wednesday and Thursday, and second-game matchups Saturday and Sunday.
▪ In the tournament, if a game is tied at the end of regular, an eight-minute, 4-on-4 sudden-death format will be played. If there is no goal, eight more minutes, at 3-on-3 will follow. And if no goal? A shootout. But there will be no shootout to decide a state final.
▪ Preliminary, first and second round, and Round of 16 games will each have three officials. From the quarterfinals through the state final, there will be four officials.
▪ The committee voted unanimously to approve official scoresheets for every game. There was talk of looking into converting an electronic system with iPads. But with games being played at outside venues, not operated by the schools or the MIAA, the rinks and arenas would need to possess the technology and have it be fully operational.
▪ Unruly fan behavior at rinks, punctuated by bad language, prompted a lengthy discussion. Arlington AD Dan Shine, the longtime committee chair, was dismayed at the language being used on the ice and toward officials. He encouraged further discussion on how to combat the growing issue going forward.
On deck, softball
▪ At Tuesday’s MIAA softball meeting held virtually, the committee passed a motion, 10-2, to implement automatic intentional walks in games, a new rule suggested by the NFHS softball rules committee. The motion will be voted on by the Tournament Management Committee and may be used for the 2023 season. The automatic intentional walk is already used in baseball and the committee believes it’s fair for both sports to follow the same regulations.
▪ The committee also announced players will be allowed to wear jewelry during games for the 2023 season, following a rule change by the NFHS in July. Previously, only medical and religious jewelry were permitted.
▪ The cutoff date for the 2023 regular season is Monday, May 29th. The committee said it has been in contact with UMass Amherst to again host the state finals on June 16th and 17th, although a formal contract is still in the works. Venues for the state semifinals are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Correspondent Matt Doherty contributed to this story.
Cam Kerry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.