PROVIDENCE — All Jared Pedro, Kristopher Wallace and Teddy Reall are asking for is a chance to tryout for a neighboring high school hockey program come next season, when the trio will be seniors.
Presently, Pedro, Wallace and Reall are juniors and play forward for Tolman High School’s hockey team, one that will cease to exist following the current campaign. At Monday’s Principals’ Committee on Athletics meeting, the three young men along with their parents and Tolman athletic director John Scanlon appeared at Rhode Island Interscholastic League headquarters to see what can be done in order to provide the aforementioned skaters with a chance to play hockey throughout their entire high school careers.
While the PCOA heard what was a very strong case regarding why these players should be afforded the opportunity to see if they could test the waters at say East Providence or Lincoln – like the Tigers, the Lions practice at Lynch Arena – no vote was taken. One member of the PCOA, Lincoln High principal Kevin McNamara, suggested that the matter be placed in the hands of the hockey committee. The recommendation was quickly pulled back.
For the time being, the case of granting three Tolman hockey players permission to see whether they can latch on someplace else will be taken under review by RIIL executive director Tom Mezzanotte and assistant director Mike Lunney. There are several issues and/or concerns that need to be taken under advisement, one of which is whether allowing three players from one high school to potentially join forces at a presumably close-by school for what could be considered a one-year, co-op agreement.
There’s also the matter of what happens should Pedro, Wallace and Reall tryout and not make the team. If all three are successful in obtaining varsity roster spots, what’s not to say that a parent takes umbrage with three “outsiders” coming in and charges that those spots belong to the players who actually attend the high school?
The hope is that some kind of resolution can be rendered in time for the next PCOA meeting on March 18.
The chance to speak before the Principals’ Committee came about due to Carol Pedro, mother of Jared, and Ted Reall Sr., who wrote letters that were mailed in early November. Scanlon informed the PCOA that Tolman hockey “is at the end of the line.” Jared’s father, Edd Pedro, put it out there Monday to see if a special waiver could be granted that all three could tryout.
“It would fulfill their dream to play hockey throughout their entire high school career,” Scanlon told the group.
“They would be an asset to any team,” added Edd Pedro.
All the Tolman players were dressed identical, sporting team jackets, black pants and red ties. Representing his teammates, Jared Pedro said, “We would greatly appreciate the opportunity to play next season.”
As for other issues discussed Monday, a playoff proposal has been presented to the football committee that Mezzanotte mentioned is in the “exploration” stage.
What was proposed was to take the semifinal-round contests that are typically held the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and have them contested the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. The Super Bowls would remain scheduled for the first weekend in December. Such a tweak would figure to benefit those players who are being asked to play three demanding games in an 11-day span, a practice that has been done since an extra round of playoffs was added in the late 90s.
The idea then would be to take all the Thanksgiving Day contests and turn them into non-leaguers. For the majority of the state, that’s not an issue as games such as Tolman-Shea and Woonsocket-Cumberland already fall under the non-league category.
For the few league games that take place on the holiday like East Providence-La Salle, Burrillville-Ponaganset and Scituate-North Smithfield, what would happen is that the teams would meet early in the season for a league game before reuniting on Turkey Day in a non-league setting.
Mezzanotte added that the Interscholastic League’s Medicine Committee has stressed the dangers of playing so many games within a tight window for years, and with regulations regarding concussions coming to the forefront on a seemingly regular basis, the possibility of changing the football postseason structure is something that should be seriously taken under advisement.
– The PCOA announced the formation of a committee that is specifically looking at the future of cooperative programs. Among those included on the committee are Richard Lawrence, director of athletics at Mount St. Charles and Woonsocket athletic director George Nasuti.
Having an independent perspective that is tentatively scheduled to report its findings to the league by the end of the school year figures to go a long way in how schools are allowed to partner up. Mezzanotte went out of his way to praise the girls’ co-op hockey programs involving Ponaganset/Burrillville and Smithfield/North Smithfield, saying that both meet the main co-op criteria regarding combined enrollment.
There is concern, however, that multiple schools are joining forces to create all-star-esque programs, which Mezzanotte wants the committee to explore.
“We’re not looking to get rid of co-ops,” Mezzannotte stated, “but we want to look at them closely.”
– By a slim 7-6 vote, the motion of allowing Division II baseball teams to play an additional non-league game was passed. That means Division II teams will adhere to a 16-game league schedule in addition to four non-leaguers. The Injury Fund game does not count as a non-leaguer.
For comparison, Division I teams play 18 league games and two non-leaguers for a regular-season total of 20 games.
– By a 9-4 margin, the motion of inviting ninth graders to participate in preseason conditioning drills for pitchers and catchers in both baseball and softball was passed. As of right now, teams are allowed to workout eight pitchers and two catchers in baseball with softball being permitted to include four pitchers and two catchers.
– A request made by the Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts to have its $500 participation fee waived was unanimously approved. Typically, the Walsh School uses Tolman as the high school where its athletes can compete.
– The request the Tolman High softball program made for it to be dropped from Division I to Division II was denied. The PCOA citing that once the group approves a realignment proposal, which was the case with softball at November’s meeting, no appeals can be made.
– The boys’ basketball team at Davies Tech was fined $100 and placed on probation for a year after using a fifth-year player earlier this season. There were no forfeitures as the Patriots lost all five games the player-in-question participated in.
– In the event of a player or coach getting ejected, he or she must complete an online sportsmanship course entitled “It’s Up to You” in addition to filling out the form that the RIIL already requires. Getting thrown out of a game automatically carries a one-game suspension. The new guideline will take effect beginning with the spring sports season.