Utah High School Hockey Charges Ahead Despite Pandemic Challenges
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – High School hockey in Utah is unique. It’s a club sport, not sanctioned or financially supported by the high schools. The COVID-19 pandemic has made things a bit harder for high school hockey players in the state.
The tradition of high school hockey in Utah goes back 50 years and has put players into college and serves as a feeder for local college club teams. The league puts players in the minors, and even into the NHL.
At one point, Utah high school hockey was showcased as an example of how prepared Utah was to host the Olympics.
Leagues have always been run by parents and volunteers dedicated to making sure that high school-aged players had a place to play and could play for the honor of their school.
The global pandemic wasn’t going to stop the dedicated high school board from having a season.
There are obstacles for sure, like Salt Lake County shutting down their rinks, leaving only a few venues for over 25 clubs to try and fit in 17 games. The board agreed to only play if they could do it so that it was safe for the players, coaches and officials.
“It’s huge when you can get a group of people together to agree on anything, but everyone has really come together,” said Utah High School Hockey President Shannon Woodall. “We’ve had to go week to week, month to month, and work with what we had, and everyone came together to make sure these kids could play.”
The goal is to have the State playoffs in February, with the State Champions representing Utah in the USA Hockey High School National Championships in April in Omaha, Nebraska.
As of right now, Park City sits in first place, with Farmington and Herriman in chasing for Division 1. Skyline, Copperhill and East are in the driver’s seat for Division 2.
As the season comes to an end, the excitement of playoffs, upsets and senior nights are sure to be coming up, thanks to the hard work, dedication and adaptability of those board members, coaches, parents and volunteers.
Utah Puck Report is a podcast all about Utah hockey, from interviews with NHL stars to which Grizzlies players are about to take the next step, Utah Puck Report has everything for a Utah hockey fan. Find it wherever you find podcasts or on KSLSports.com. The show is hosted by KSL Sports’ hockey insider, Jay Stevens.