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WIAA approves use of two divisions for boys hockey state tournamentSubmitted: 06/27/2017

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EAGLE RIVER - The WIAA approved the use of a basketball shot clock late last week. Hockey also received some major changes across Wisconsin. The boys hockey state tournament will be divided into two divisions starting in 2020.

The smallest 32 schools based on enrollment will be in Division Two. Northland Pines head coach Dave Cox says this is a step in the right direction.


"The bottom line is for 25 years people have been talking about two divisions, and there's magic numbers and cases and scenarios that had to happen, but the athletic directors and the bureaucrats all got together down in Madison and got together with the people in Stevens Point that this is what was best for the sport at this point," said Cox.

Just like Division One, four schools will qualify for the Division Two state tournaments. It's likely that each of the Great Northern Conference teams will play in Division Two. As the smallest school in the conference, Northland Pines is all but guaranteed to play in Division Two. Cox says that means the change will benefit the Eagles.

"We're all competing for the same athletes at our school and the same for their schools and the bigger numbers you get better opportunity," said Cox. "We really struggle with injuries and illness and fielding a JV team."

The new format will run for two years as an experiment. The WIAA will also change its process for determining seeds in the state tournament. A recent press release states the WIAA will "conduct a conference call with coaches of qualifying teams to determine the top four seeds, and the remaining four teams will be randomly drawn as opponents of the seeded teams in the brackets."

Story By: Mark Spillane

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