Hey hockey fans, the 2019-20 campaign will mark the halfway point on Wednesday, January 8. As I say every year, it's hard to believe the season is that far along.
The first of two experimental seasons of the two division play on the boys side has brought mixed reviews. Although there will still be eight teams competing at state in March, they will be playing for two gold trophies rather than one. And in some ways, that is a blessing and a curse.
First, the upside. There is a good chance that some programs will get an opportunity to skate for a state title for the first time. Presently, if you look at the top six teams in Division 2, Waunakee would be the only team that would be a first-time participant. Some of the others would be appearing for the first time in a few years, last state trip in parentheses: Northland Pines (2004), Hayward (1979), and McFarland (2000, as McFarland/Oregon). Superior has played 84 games at state, but their last trip was in 2015.
Okay, so it is cool that we might see some different teams. But when it comes to some teams in Division 1 that might have had a good chance to play at the The Clamshell in Mad City if the year was 2019, well in 2020, that just ain't gonna happen.
Last year, Onalaska/LaCrosse, Eau Claire North, Wausau West, and Hudson all were state qualifiers. This year, these teams are all in Sectional 1 and only one of them will make it to state.
Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha (Sect 2) and Verona (Sect 3) are the only teams in their current respective sectionals that played in Madison last year, so that is not so bad. Section 4 has state qualifiers USM and Waukesha, so we lose one state team from last year.
So the question is: does the upside outweigh the downside?
Stats, lies, and videotape
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
So said Mark Twain, along with others to describe the use of numbers to bolster weak arguments. And so it might also be true when it comes to goalie stats that are entered on WiPH.
That said, I would honestly state that 99% of the goalie stats are entered accurately on the website. But that 1% that are not cause all sorts of issues.
For the most part, goals scored and assists can be verified by videotape. After all, if five goals are scored in the game, only five goals can be credited to players. Assists can be added, after reviewing 'the tape.'
Totally understandable, as the refs can't get it completely right.
But the refs don't keep track of shots; no way that they could. That leaves it up to the home team scoring crew, which could consist of the penalty box attendants, scorekeeper, and timekeeper.
Disclaimer: I worked as a scorekeeper/announcer/stat keeper for four years while my daughter played HS hockey from 2011-15. I can honestly say that our crew, which consisted of different people other than me, was honest about shots/saves for both teams that were playing.
I can't say that about other venues that we played in.
My daughter, who was a netminder for four years, played in a tournament in Minnesota her freshman year. I was in the stands and as a 'goalie parent,' had a tendency to track shots. That is what goalie parents do, because we just don't trust the scorekeepers.
In the second game, my save totals had Emily with 25 saves and the other goalie with 27, but the 'official' scoresheet had 14 and 16, respectively.
I mean, really?
A differential of two or three is understandable, but what were these guys doing? And the problem is, you see this more than you should. Coaches have a tendency to focus on goals and assists when they are reviewing the tape; saves get short shrift.
We need to have more accurate goalie stats.
Player of the Week/Game of the Week
WiPH names a Player of the Week every week. We would like to ask that coaches, fans, and parents send us POTW nominees. Please add as much detail about games played as you can. A 'week' runs from Monday through Sunday.
If your team is playing in an important possible GOTW, let us know.
We would like to have any of these before 6pm on Monday.
This is something that we have be begging to get for many years. The same people that call us 'USM Prep Hockey' are the same people that fail to send game summaries.
This year, USM and the Metro Lynx are the only teams of over 110 teams that have sent game summaries and pictures.
Not sure what else I can say.
Well, there is. If your team has a student that is in a journalism class, this would be great opportunity to gain some writing experience. A couple years ago, we had a student provide game summaries for her team, and used that as stepping stone to add to her college career.
Interested? Let us know.