Milford on ice? Program eyed

MILFORD – School officials are looking into the possibility of starting a boys’ hockey program at Milford High School.

Athletic Director Marc Maurais went over information with the school board recently, including anticipated start-up costs.

He estimated ice time at a rink, a coaching stipend, transportation, game management, uniforms and supplies would cost an estimated $28,500, plus more for medical coverage.

The availability and cost of using a rink is the biggest factor, he said, and Saint Anselm, JFK Coliseum in Manchester and the Conway Arena don’t have available ice time this season to offer new programs.

Tri-Town Ice Arena in Hooksett has only a 5-6 a.m. time slot available.

“Ice time is huge,” he said, and unless a program dissolves, there is no place to play this year.

Among the 42 schools in New Hampshire that offer ice hockey for boys, most charge user fees, he said, and many have booster clubs that help.

Forming a co-op with another high school would greatly reduce the costs, he said, and someone mentioned that Pelham is breaking away from its co-op and Nashua South might be available.

Maurais would like at least 18 boys to start.

Several residents spoke about the desire for hockey, including Milford Police Chief Michael Viola.

“As a hockey parent, I know it’s expensive,” he said, “and I know a lot of kids want to play in the colors of Milford High.”

Another parent said she pays $11,000 a season for her children to play and some people move to towns that offer hockey.

“To live in a town that doesn’t support student-athletics is difficult when we pay property taxes,” she said.

School officials and Maurais will continue to look for answers to the questions, and hockey will be on the agenda for the Nov. 6 board meeting.

“I’m a big hockey fan, and I’d like to see us make it work,” said board Chairman Ron Carvell, who also said he’s not opposed to some kind of “pay-to-play.”

Along with the 42 schools that offer boys programs, 14 offer girls ice hockey, including Souhegan Cooperative.