Area high school coaches and administrators were not surprised when the winter sports was delayed, although many wonder what is next to come.

When the Maine Principals’ Association announced last week that the Nov. 16 start date for winter sports would be pushed back, Brunswick girls basketball coach Sam Farrell was surprised there was no timetable given.

“Simply saying we aren’t going at the normal date isn’t a plan,” Farrell said.

Farrell said he was hoping that student-athletes would be able to get in the gym to be able to practice, but that will not be the case now.

“A shorter season with all games being regional would be a great compromise,” Farrell added.

For other sports such as hockey and indoor track, there’s more to worry about than just getting the green light to play.

Brunswick girls ice hockey coach Mike Routhier is concerned with the lack of opportunities teams around the state will have to get on the ice.

Brunswick’s Kelsey Sullivan, right and Kendahl Dow, left, fight for a rebound with Gray-New Gloucester’s Jordan Grant during the Dragons’ 50-38 loss last season in the Class A South quarterfinals. Russ Dillingham / Sun Journal

“Many programs will have to trek around the state to get on a sheet of ice to practice or play games, and that doesn’t bode well with the guidelines in place for transportation,” Routhier explained.

The Sidney J. Watson Arena at Bowdoin College in Brunswick is home for the Brunswick and Mt.Ararat/Lisbon/Morse hockey teams. The campus is closed to the public for the time being, putting those programs in a scramble for home ice.

“The logistics specific to ice hockey as far as available ice time is a hurdle,” added Mt.Ararat/Lisbon/Morse boys head coach A.J Kavanaugh.

Indoor track also relies on facilities within the community to host home meets, something that concerns Mt. Ararat coach Diane Fournier.

“We have always been fortunate to practice at Bowdoin 4-5 nights a week and most of our meets are there,” Fournier said.

Fournier added that she has never had to coach a practice for indoor track at Mt. Ararat, because they have been able to use the facilities at Bowdoin often. She wonders how it would be possible to practice at the school, and noted some of her athletes have already decided to try a different sport if winter sports indeed get the green light.

“I have talked to some of the athletes, some are going out for swimming and hockey, one is even playing basketball,” Fournier said.

Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse’s Noah Magda (2) skates with the puck during a hockey game last season at Watson Arena in Brunswick. File photo

Brunswick boys basketball coach Todd Hanson was not surprised by the decision, but like Farrell, is looking for a plan to be set in place.

“I think that we should be ready to go in with different scenarios and dates covered,” Hanson said. “That way, there is something for student-athletes and coaches to use as a guide.”

Administrators were also not surprised by the decision, mainly considering the fall season is slated to end Nov. 14.

Morse athletic director Nathan Priest said he will take the same approach as he did with fall sports in regards to how they will handle the situation.

“Our coaches are anxious for updates and I will give them any updates as I receive them,” Priest said. “We will continue to wait for guidance from the MPA before moving forward with any formal plans.”

Jeff Ramich, the athletic director at Brunswick High School, said they will be waiting for updates from the MPA but is looking at alternative options in the meantime to keep athletes involved and in shape.

“In case we don’t get the news we all want to hear, we are planning on doing something with intramurals, fitness and weight training to provide a healthy alternative for our students,” Ramich said.

At this time, Ramich has been trying to keep his coaches and students in good spirits while they wait for more guidance from the MPA.

“I have been telling our coaches and athletes to keep the faith as we await further updates,” Ramich said.

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