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Published May 19 2010

South, Davies hockey teams to remain split after board meeting

The Fargo School Board on Tuesday re-affirmed its decision to have separate varsity boys hockey programs at Fargo South and Fargo Davies next season.

Despite impassioned pleas from parents and coaches, the school board voted 5-3 to deny a motion by board member Jim Johnson that would have rescinded a March 23 decision to separate South and Davies next year.

Board members Johnson, Dan Fremling and Robin Nelson voted to rescind the motion. Vice president Rick Steen was absent.

“We don’t have numbers,” said Jarrett Etches, who was a sophomore for South’s varsity team this season. “Teams are going to struggle. It’s not going to be competitive. If it’s not competitive, it’s not fun, you know.”

Johnson’s was looking to rescind the board’s decision on separate Davies and South boys varsity hockey teams because of the lack of discussion about creating junior varsity programs for each school.

No junior varsity teams are planned for either program next year due to lack of interest.

Johnson said last week that he hoped to spark a discussion about sustaining each program long term through the junior varsity.

“First and foremost, it was not that I was against two varsity teams starting next year,” Johnson said. “But I think what we passed here is a very restrictive motion to our administration that has led us to have no JV programs at South or Davies next year from what I can see at this point in time.”

“I think, at the end of the day, if we do not have a JV program we are going to have a hard time supporting a varsity program long term.”

Board member Don Faulkner said the Fargo Public Schools administration is already being directed to create junior varsity programs as soon as possible.

“We have, in fact, three comprehensive high schools,” Faulkner said. “We want those schools to all offer as many opportunities as they can. … I think it would be going backwards here.”

Fourteen people addressed the board about the hockey split.

South parent Steve Wurzer asked the board to listen to the Fargo Public Schools administration’s initial recommendation to hold off on the separation until 2011-12.

“You want to implement the programs at South and Davies in a very thoughtful manner,” Wurzer said. “Get there. But you don’t have to jump right into it. I think you can get to those separate programs, but over a period of time. Provide for the kids, do it over a period of time.”

Jay Thoreson, who will have children at Davies, said more opportunities will bring more players to each program.

“If there are more roster spots available for students as the results of Davies and South having a program I think we’re going to see more kids coming over from the Junior Gold program,” Thoreson said. “I think we’re going to see more kids who dropped out of hockey because they had been discouraged by a pretty small peak on the pyramid of players who are able to play.”

Davies High School is scheduled to open in 2011-12. Davies students will attend classes at the South campus, but compete on Davies varsity teams next year.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562