2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

BLOG: Decision to keep hockey unified sends Coronado into hibernation

Published: April 17, 2014, 10:01 pm, by Scott Kaniewski

When Coronado’s football team hit a rough patch, many wondered about the sport’s future at the west-side school. Fortunately, the program had a chance to play down a class to revive the near-moribund program. Last November, the Cougars won a state championship after four years of reorganization in Class 3A.

The Cougars, winless in 19 games last season, won’t have that chance in hockey.

When the legislative council voted 39-33 Thursday to keep hockey in a unified class, Coronado athletic director Dave Howard had little motivation to continue. With two classes, the Cougars could play down in 4A and perhaps get things moving in the right direction again.

But instead of fielding a team that has struggled to compete, Howard made the decision to discontinue the program, at least for the next cycle.

“We had no opportunity to play down, and if you saw our records over the last six, eight years, it was pretty evident we were struggling greatly in hockey,” Howard said. “We just don’t have the numbers to put together a competitive team. All I know, and the only decision we’ve made right now, is that for the next cycle, Coronado will not have a hockey team. Believe me, the last thing an AD wants to do is stop programs.”

The remaining Cougars can choose one of the other two District 11 teams at Palmer and Doherty.

Howard recalled the days when Southern Colorado ruled the roost in hockey.

“About 10 years ago, we were the schools that kept hockey alive,” Howard said. “Denver had so many issues up there, and they were cutting programs. At one time, there were 16 schools playing hockey, and the lion’s share were from Southern Colorado. But as soon as the Denver teams started coming back in and linking arms with other schools, we got this disparity in power.”

 - Kevin Carmody, The Gazette