Janesville64°

Junior hockey would boost high school enrollment

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
February 17, 2009
— The junior A hockey team proposed for Janesville would mean more students for Janesville high schools, and that means officials would have to work out some arrangements.

The approximately 25 team members could be anywhere between ages 16 and 20, said Bill McCoshen, a spokesman for Wisconsin Hockey Partners.


Just how many of the hockey players would be of high school age is not known, yet. McCoshen said he won't know the makeup of the team until August.


"We have several details to work out with the district because our practices are going to be in the middle of the day," McCoshen said.


McCoshen said he hopes the district would allow the practices to substitute for the students' physical-education requirement.


That would work out fine if the students were enrolled in the Janesville Virtual Academy, said Steve Salerno, the school district's director of human and administrative services.


Salerno has been in touch with McCoshen about this issue.


The virtual school allows students to design their own phy ed course, and hockey could serve that purpose, Salerno said.


The number of openings in the virtual school is limited to 35, however, and students are chosen by lottery.


If the hockey players didn't get into the virtual school, they could attend Craig or Parker high school. In that case, the question of physical education credit for hockey is problematic, said Director of Instruction Donna Behn.


The high schools don't allow high school athletes to substitute their sports for phy ed.


However, alternative educational plans are developed for some students in special circumstances, including a couple who are frequently out of town for snowboarding competitions, Behn said.


Those arrangements are at the discretion of the high school principals, Behn said.


The host families that board the student/athletes would become the students' legal guardians, McCoshen said. That would make those teens district residents and allow them to enroll in the Janesville School District, Salerno said.


According to the North American Hockey League Web site, most games are scheduled on weekends to allow students to pursue their educations.


Each team plays a 58-game regular season, running from September to April. More games might be played as exhibitions or in league playoffs.



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