Waterville, Winslow set to merge for 2017-18 season

Two of the state’s winningest hockey programs – and bitter rivals – will merge this season with Waterville and Winslow agreeing to field a cooperative team.

Low numbers and the closing of Sukee Arena – which resulted in lack of ice time for Winslow – led to the latest merger in high school hockey.

Waterville, the two-time defending Class B state champion, will become the first team since 2005 – regardless of class – to win a title then fail to field a standalone program the next season.

Fryeburg won the Class B state title in 2004 but did not field a standalone team the following season.

“Obviously, we didn’t want to do this,” said Waterville Coach Dennis Martin, who has led the Purple Panthers to three state titles in 14 seasons. “But it had to be done so that we could have hockey.”

Waterville graduated eight seniors from its 17-player roster and was faced with only a handful of incoming freshmen next season. Martin estimated that there would only be as many as 11 players for next season. Winslow had 13 players last winter, but it didn’t graduate anyone.


AEGON CLASSIC: Two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova produced her most encouraging result since returning from a knife attack to advance to the quarterfinals in the Wimbledon warmup in Birmingham, England.

The Czech beat fellow wild-card Naomi Broady of Britain 6-2, 6-2.

WIMBLEDON: Past semifinalist Tommy Haas, 2016 junior champ Denis Shapovalov and British women Laura Robson, Heather Watson and Naomi Broady are among the players receiving wild-card invites.

QUEEN’S: Another star attraction was eliminated from the grass-court tourney in London when fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost to Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-4 in the second round.

GERRY WEBER OPEN: Robin Haase upset second-seeded Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-6 (7) in the second round in Halle, Germany.

MALLORCA OPEN:Former top-ranked Victoria Azarenka made a winning return after a year out to have a baby, beating Japan’s Risa Ozaki, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7) in the first-round match in Spain that started late on Tuesday but was halted due to darkness.

BANKRUPT: Boris Becker was declared bankrupt by a British court after the former tennis player failed to pay a long-standing debt.

A lawyer for the six-time Grand Slam champion pleaded for a last chance to pay a debt that Becker has owed to private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co. since 2015.

The registrar refused to adjourn the case for another 28 days and announced a bankruptcy order.


U.S. CHAMPIONSHIPS: Having wrapped up the first round of treatment for cancer that’s spread from her salivary gland to her liver, middle-distance runner Gabriele Grunewald will take the starting line for the 1,500 meters Thursday in Sacramento, California.


IOC: As part of its mission to attract younger fans, the International Olympic Committee announced a sponsorship deal with Intel, which will bring virtual reality and 360-degree viewing to mobile devices and TVs as soon as next year’s Winter Games.


CONFEDERATIONS CUP: Mexico asserted its superiority in the second half against New Zealand to avoid an embarrassment, coming from behind to win a fiery Group A encounter 2-1 in Sochi, Russia.

– Staff and news service report