The Anchorage School District announced a plan Friday to outsource its girls hockey program, canceled in April due to reduced participation, to a private group for this school year.
According to a press release issued by ASD and the Scotty Gomez Foundation Hockey Association, the program -- which the district said had a total of 83 girls enrolled in the 2011-2012 school years -- will be operated as a varsity sport in conjunction with the Alaska State Hockey Association and USA Hockey. The program will follow rules laid down by the Alaska School Activities Association.
“We’re excited to offer this opportunity to girls in our community. These student athletes will have the chance to represent their respective schools on the ice, in the school hallways, on pages in the yearbook and throughout our town,” Carlos Gomez, the association’s president, said in the statement.
While the agreement is in place for this year, its future depends on how well it works out.
"Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, the outsourcing agreement may be extending for up to three years," officials wrote. "Future years of the program are contingent on success of the program. The Gomez Association is responsible for recruitment and promotion of the program."
ASD Superintendent Ed Graff praised the community efforts to continue the hockey program.
“We are pleased these groups stepped forward to take the lead in offering this program as an outsourced sport,” Graff said. “They’ve worked tirelessly over the summer to find ways to help this sport grow and continue for high school athletes.”
Other groups have also experienced difficulty with funding hockey programs, with the Boys and Girls Club Alaska announcing the end of its youth hockey program in July.
The group’s marketing director, Jennifer Brown, said players in the program’s final season paid $800 per person last year to play hockey, versus up to $315 for football and up to $190 for soccer.
The association says ASAA has agreed to co-op agreements to let high schools combine players to form teams. More details about the program are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.