The 2020-21 winter high school season officially begins with a pair of hockey games Thursday. As was the case during Fall I, it likely will remain a fluid situation for schools and leagues across the state for the next couple of months.
The Worcester Public Schools, which did not compete in Fall I, had planned on holding sports during the winter season before reversing course Wednesday.
“This was not an easy decision to make and we especially feel for all our student-athletes and coaches who were eagerly anticipating the start of their season,” David Shea, director of athletics for Worcester Public Schools, said in a statement. “I hope that everyone understands that the number one reason for this decision was for the health, safety, and well being for all of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and officials.”
School districts and leagues across the state, from Boston to the Berkshires, have crafted plans to compete during the winter in the sports approved by the MIAA — basketball, ice hockey, gymnastics, swimming, and Alpine and Nordic skiing. Wrestling has been shifted to the spring season (April 25-July 3).
Here is a breakdown of where each league or district stands as of Wednesday:
Bay State Conference
▪ In basketball and hockey, BSC teams will play their Carey and Herget schedules with back-to-back matchups the same week, and a pair of crossover games. Competition starts the first week of January.
▪ According to AD Paul Spear, Framingham is currently in a wait-and-see mode. The Flyers opted out of the Fall I season.
▪ Gymnastics meets will be held remote, with scores tabulated within a three-day window.
▪ For hockey, spectators are at the discretion of the respective school and rink.
Boston City League
▪ BPS is waiting to clear several hurdles to receive approval from city officials.
▪ The hope for basketball is to begin practicing Jan. 4, games Jan. 20 and a BCL tournament during February vacation.
Cape & Islands
▪ The C&I will have competition in basketball, ice hockey, and swimming, with league-only games.
▪ Basketball and hockey will feature 12-game schedules. The details for swimming are still being ironed out.
▪ The CAL will play 10-game league schedules for basketball and hockey beginning Jan. 5.
▪ Ipswich and Manchester-Essex delayed the start of practices until Dec. 21.
▪ North Reading gymnastics won’t start until Jan. 6 because it shares a co-op with host Danvers, which starts on Jan. 6.
▪ Amesbury will offer basketball, but not hockey, because it shares a co-op with Whittier Tech (opting out of winter sports).
▪ On Monday, Pentucket paused all hockey activities for 2 weeks following the positive test of an individual associated with the program, which shares a co-op with Georgetown.
▪ The CCL is offering hockey, basketball, and swimming with a CCL Cup planned for the week of February vacation.
▪ For basketball, visiting teams allowed 1 parent/guardian per player at Arlington Catholic (home fans only), Archbishop Williams, Bishop Fenwick, Bishop Stang, Bishop Feehan; 2 parents/guardians allowed at Cathedral.
▪ For hockey, 1 parent/guardian allowed per player at St. Mary’s (Connery), Arlington Catholic, Archbishop Williams, and Bishop Stang. Two parents/guardians at Bishop Feehan.
▪ It will be game on for Archbishop Williams hockey on Christmas Eve morning at the Canton SportsPlex, with the Bishop girls hosting Arlington Catholic at 9, followed by the boys taking on nonleague foe Weymouth at 11.
▪ No spectators will be allowed for any home or away swim meets.
▪ The Catholic Conference will play 10-game conference schedules for basketball and hockey beginning the week of Jan. 4.
▪ St. John’s of Shrewsbury is joining the league on an interim basis and will become an official member in 2021-22
▪ The CC has scheduled conference tourneys for hockey (Feb. 13, 17, 21) and basketball (Feb. 123, 16, and 21).
▪ Greater Lawrence, Lynn Tech, KIPP Academy, and Whittier Tech are not offering basketball.
▪ The CAC is shooting for a 12- to 14-game conference-only schedule for basketball.
▪ Shawsheen, Mystic Valley, Greater Lowell will participate in swimming, and meets will be held in a remote format. Every other swim team has moved to the Fall II (Feb. 22-April 25) season.
▪ Minuteman is not offering hockey.
▪ With no pool availability, the Lowell Catholic/Innovation swimming co-op will not compete in the winter season.
▪ Following the recommendation of superintendent Everett Olsen, Jr., who was concerned with the uptick of Covid cases in town, the Westford school committee voted, 4-3, not to offer basketball and hockey on Dec. 8.
▪ DCL teams will play a 10-game schedule with two contests per week; Teams will only play members from the Small or Large divisions, the same as the fall season.
▪ Boston Latin is in line with the city of Boston, delayed until at least Jan. 4.
▪ Spectators are not allowed at any games, in any sport
Greater Boston League
▪ GBL games, tentatively, are scheduled to begin the week of Jan. 18 (10 conference games, majority on Saturday, considering a basketball league championship during Feb. break). But it is a fluid situation.
▪ Because of the recent uptick of Covid cases, Everett is pausing the start of winter sports until at least after the New Year.
▪ Malden won’t begin practices until Jan. 11, and the gymnastics team will not host meets.
▪ Replicating the Fall I season, the Hock teams will play divisional-only games in the Davenport and Kelley-Rex, home and away during the same week, for basketball and hockey. Competition starts the first week of January.
▪ Swimming and gymnastic meets will compete against all other league opponents (Blue Hills Regional/swimming and MetroSouth Gymnastics are not allowing spectators).
▪ There is hope for a season-ending Hockomock Cup in basketball and hockey, as well as a Hock meet for swimming and gymnastics.
▪ Bishop Connolly, Holbrook, South Shore Voke, West Bridgewater, and Westport will offer basketball. And those 5 MAC schools will be joined by independent South Shore Christian, which was seeking games.
▪ There will be a 10-game regular season schedule, followed by a conference tournament in late February. The MAC is not playing hockey this winter.
Merrimack Valley Conference
▪ The MVC will begin four weeks of Phase 1 on Dec. 14 with tryouts and practices. Schools will track COVID-19 rates in each community over the four weeks and determine whether or not they will begin live competition on Jan. 11.
▪ Haverhill School Committee suspended start of hockey to Jan. 19
▪ North Andover boys’ hockey off ice until January.
▪ Replicating the fall season, Middlesex League teams will only play within their divisions (Freedom, Liberty). Games will start Jan. 2 and each team will play the same opponent once a week for two weeks.
▪ The ML is restricting hockey programs to three varsity practices per week.
▪ Lexington is requiring any students playing hockey or basketball to go remote.
▪ The league is not offering a spring season. And no fans will be allowed at events.
▪ Peabody delayed basketball tryouts until Dec. 28, but other sports are ongoing.
▪ With coronavirus infections on the rise, and school in remote mode, Swampscott joined Salem and Danvers in pushing back tryouts for basketball, hockey, swimming, and gymnastics till after Jan. 1.
▪ Lynn Classical and English and the other public schools in the city will not offer winter sports.
* The NEC was shooting to play 14-game schedules for basketball and hockey, but that number may be unattainable.
▪ The Patriot League will offer basketball, hockey, swim & dive and gymnastics.
▪ Basketball is slated for 11 games (home and away with division, one crossover game). Patriot Cup format is still being worked out, but it’s scheduled to go from Feb. 8-19. Scituate AD Pete Umbrianna said he’s “guessing it will look a lot like this past fall with soccer.”
▪ Hockey is slated for 12 games. Patriot Cup format is still being worked out, but it will likely be the same length of time.
▪ Swim & dive is slated for seven meets, all of which will be held remotely. Scores must be compared with the opposing school by Sunday of that week at the latest. The hope is to have some sort of Patriot League swim invitational similar to cross-country.
▪ Gymnastics is set to have five meets, again with the hopes of a Patriot League invitational meet at the end of the season. All meets will be virtual, and scores will be compared by the end of the week.
▪ There will be no fans allowed at away competitions. Basketball will be home fans only, two spectators per player. For hockey games, the plan is to follow the specific rink’s policies. Swim and gymnastics will have no spectators.
▪ SCC schools have started practices for basketball and hockey, and will have a 10-game conference-only season beginning in January. Basketball, hockey, swimming and gymnastics will be open for all schools who offer the programs.
▪ Only two parents/spectators are allowed per athlete at home games (individual schools can include further restrictions), and no away fans will be allowed at any site.
▪ Conference-only tournaments are being planned for late February.
▪ The SSL will offer basketball, hockey, and swimming season, but games will not be played prior to Jan. 8. Gymnastics is also on.
▪ Once around the league for everyone. Hockey is trying for two games against each school.
▪ No fans will be allowed at games.
▪ If host facilities do not adhere to safety standards, game will deemed a forfeit.
▪ Abington and Rockland hockey and basketball not allowed to start before Dec. 28 (both schools are remote)
▪ The five school districts (Bridgewater-Rayham, Brockton, Dartmouth, Durfee, and New Bedford) are offering basketball, hockey, gymnastics, and swimming.
▪ There will be a 10- to 12-game regular season schedule, with a few nonleague games.
▪ Games will start the week of Jan. 4, with a SEC Tournament at the end of the season.
▪ In winter season, TVL is sticking with its Large (Ashland, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medfield, Norwood, Westwood) and Small divisions (Bellingham, Dedham, Dover-Sherborn, Medway, Millis, Norton). But Ashland (Jan. 4) and Holliston (Jan. 11) are starting their tryouts late.
▪ In basketball and hockey, teams will play each school on their side of the league twice for a 10-game schedule; there is room at the end of the schedule for makeups, or possibly crossover games.
▪ No fans
All sports will be broken into geographic pods, with a mix of leagues:
(Max. 14 games, including playoffs if agreed upon by each pod)
Pod 1: Blackstone-Millville, Blackstone Valley, Douglas, Hopedale, Nipmuc, Sutton, Whitinsville Christian, Bethany Christian (boys), Notre Dame Academy (girls)
Pod 2: Bartlett, Grafton, Millbury, Northbridge, Tantasqua, Uxbridge
Pod 3: Bay Path, David Prouty, Leicester, North Brookfield, Oxford, Quaboag, Southbridge
Pod 5: AMSA, Clinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Maynard, Nashoba, Westborough
Pod 6: Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster, Narragansett, Oakmont, Quabbin
Pod 7: Groton-Dunstable, Littleton, Lunenburg, North Middlesex, St. Bernard’s, Tyngsborough
Pod 8: Algonquin, St. Paul, Shepherd Hill, Shrewsbury, Wachusett
Pod 9: Ayer Shirley, Bromfield, Monty Tech, Murdock, South Lancaster, Tahanto, West Boylston
Pod 1: Algonquin, Hudson, Marlborough, Nashoba, Shrewsbury, Wachusett, Westborough
Pod 2: Fitchburg, Gardner, Groton-Dunstable, Leominster, Littleton/Bromfield, Lunenburg/Ayer Shirley, North Middlesex, Oakmont
Pod 3: Grafton/Blackstone Valley, Hopedale, Northbridge, St. Bernard’s
Algonquin, Leominster, Longmeadow, Oakmont, Pope Francis, Shrewsbury
Algonquin, Groton-Dunstable, Hudson, Marlborough, Shrewsbury, Westborough
Pod 1: Algonquin, AMSA, Bromfield, Gardner, Grafton, Nashoba
Pod 2: Shrewsbury, Tantasqua, Wachusett, Westborough, Worcester
Pod 1 (Practice Monday, Compete Tuesday): Ashland/Medfield, Millis, Nipmuc, St. John’s (Shrewsbury), Shrewsbury, Wachusett
Pod 2 (Practice Wednesday, Compete Thursday): Algonquin, Hopkinton, King Philip, Medfield, Westborough
Assabet Valley, Auburn, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Keefe Tech, Trivium will not compete in winter sports.
Central Mass. as a whole has voted no spectators at any sports
▪ Practices in Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference (PVIAC) will not begin until Jan 4.
▪ Approved schools: Agawam, Amherst, Baystate Academy, Belchertown (basketball and swimming only, no hockey), Franklin Tech, Gateway, Greenfield (basketball, hockey not until Jan. 11), Hoosac Valley, Hopkins Academy, Ludlow, Minnechaug, Mohawk Trail (Alpine/Nordic skiing only, basketball TBA); Monument Mountain (Alpine ski only), South Hadley, Ware, West Springfield, Westfield, Westfield Tech
▪ Lenox on pause until at least Jan. 19
▪ Pittsfield and Taconic on pause indefinitely, until city is not on remote learning
▪ Easthampton will not compete in basketball or hockey
▪ Smith Academy will not compete in any winter sports (basketball, Greenfield hockey co-op) … McCann Tech will not compete in basketball
▪ Drury, Mount Everett and Wahconah will not compete in hockey