We knew we’d see more changes below the surface when a number of high school hockey teams joined forces for the coming season. And that we have. Two schools co-oping doesn’t present that many problems, because one school has to be primary and the jersey situation has to be ironed out. Some have chosen to go an entirely new route with new jerseys, abandoning the light and dark to designate home and away to save money. You cant’ blame a school for that. What has struck us, however, as we watch these new-look teams in action is just how many schools are coming together on some of these teams. The Tri-City Titans, formerly know as Saginaw Swan Valley, has kids from four different schools— Midland Bullock Creek, Hemlock, Swan Valley and Midland are all noted on the roster with just one or two kids from each school in some cases. That meant entirely new jerseys, and, a new name. You simply can’t take that many school mascots and come up with a new mascot. Even for some of the smaller co-ops, the name case was simple— go with the primary school such as the Hornets of Flint Kearsley for the now Kearsley-Holly-Brandon. The Lapeer High Schools team that has members from Lapeer East and Lapeer West is still skating without a proper mascot name, instead affixing both schools’ mascot patches to the new white jerseys. Maybe it’s just in our boredom in our writing to constantly have to say Lapeer High Schools. We want to sometimes refer to them as the Panthers, similar to the Kearsley team being known as the Hornets. Not quite that simple, however. So, what’s a school to do? We’d like to offer up a suggestion, the Eaglecats, but likely that won’t fly—no pun intended—because it puts East’s mascot first. The primary is West, which is known as the Panthers in all other sports. PantherEagles isn’t very catchy, neither is Catbirds or Birdcats. Maybe they can use the nowdefunct Lapeer Loggers moniker giving a nod to the heritage of Lapeer. Yeah. That’s not going to sit too well with others, either.
Flying Panthers? Nah, sounds too much like a circus act. Guess we’ll all just have to follow suit and the mascot reference will have to lean toward the Panthers for the primary school.
Linden-Lake Fenton-Durand faced the same situation and simply now skates as the Chiefs. Eagles,
Railroaders and Blue Devils didn’t mesh too well.
Something had to change and the United and Unified names adopted by Rochester and other schools to the south that drew more than two schools together show the schools’ desires to put up one united front. They aren’t worrying too much about what the fans actually called them, but it does give many of the schools who will be together for at least two seasons something to consider. Swartz Creek dropped its red and white home and away jerseys when it welcomed Clio as a co-op this season and new jerseys sport an orange C linked with the red S to represent both schools fairly. The primary is Creek, so we still refer to the squad as the Dragons. Similarly, former Clio partner LakeVille still skates as the Falcons, but now has kids from Dryden and North Branch. The gold and black jerseys have gone by the wayside, too.
Here’s a more important question? How do you get that many kids from schools miles apart to meetings, practices and games during the workday? Talk about a parent’s nightmare. Just who shoulders that burden? The parents, or the school? Interesting questions to ponder, indeed.