Boston High School: Zack Stevens

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

January, 26, 2011
Coaches in Divisions I and II boys' hockey can't complain about the state tournament formats for their leagues.

New HampshireBut coaches in Division III have a beef. It's hard to argue otherwise.

“I certainly think it was an oversight,” Marc Noel said of the issue. “Do something about it. Make it good.”

Noel coaches co-operative team Pembroke-Campbell, which competes in 16-team Division III, the largest of the NHIAA's three leagues for boys' hockey. Yet based on the percentage of clubs that qualify for the postseason in each tier, Division III is the lowest.

And it's not even close.

Division I features 15 teams. The top 12 squads (80 percent) compete in the tournament, which rewards the first- through fourth-place clubs with a first-round bye to the quarterfinals.

Division I features 12 teams. The top eight teams (67 percent) punch tournament tickets.

As for 16-team Division III, its top eight teams compete for a championship.

Just 50 percent of the field plays on.

Jim Daley, the NHIAA ice hockey committee chair, said in an e-mail that Division III was the smallest league when by-laws for this season were set. The addition of several co-operative teams (Pembroke-Campbell is one of six) and North Sutton's Kearsarge Regional, where Daley is principal, added greatly to the division's depth.

Noel's frustration is fueled by the lack of consistency across all divisions. He wants the NHIAA to adopt the Division I format. Simply add four teams to his league's tourney.

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