Following recent speculation that the Vermont D1 Boys’ Ice Hockey State Championship might not be played, the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) made an announcement Monday detailing how that title game could happen.
Top-seeded Essex High School (EHS) is scheduled to take on No. 2 BFA St. Albans Wednesday night at Leddy Park’s Gordon Paquette Arena in Burlington. However, following the Hornets’ March 17 quarterfinal win over Colchester, Essex High learned that there were confirmed cases within the Colchester team.
The VPA’s Activity Standards Committee formally met Monday to discuss the situation and hear perspectives from Essex and BFA St. Albans. It’s reported that the committee then spoke with an official from the Vermont Department of Health, and a unanimous decision was subsequently made to allow the championship game to be played as long as Essex provides negative PCR results for tests taken on Wednesday.
A statement from the VPA said Essex needs to notify both the association and BFA St. Albans of the testing results by 4 p.m. on March 24. Puck drop in the Queen City is slated for 8 p.m.
“This keeps the game as originally scheduled provided Essex players are medically cleared to play,” read the VPA statement.
The virus has made a significant impact on the 2021 boys’ championship tournament with four teams needing to withdraw: South Burlington, Rice Memorial, Stowe, and Woodstock -- which did so prior to its semifinal game against Essex, giving the Hornets a push into the championship round.
If EHS is able to play Wednesday, it will be shooting for its 17th D1 state championship. Essex has matched up with BFA St. Albans in the playoffs 19 times in program history with seven of those being in the finals. EHS is 12-7 against the Bobwhites in postseason play with a 4-3 mark against them in championship games.
Essex High girls’ ice hockey
The EHS girls’ team is also slated to play for the crown at Leddy Wednesday in a rematch of the 2020 finals. The top-seeded Hornets are scheduled to take on sixth-seeded Burlington/Colchester at 4:30 p.m.
Essex, which enters the week with an undefeated record of 7-0-2, downed the SeaLakers 4-2 in last year’s championship. EHS beat Burlington/Colchester 2-0 on March 6 during the 2021 regular season.
The Hornets will be vying for their third-straight title and their eighth in team history. This will be Essex’s 12th all-time appearance in the finals -- all being under the guidance of head coach John Maddalena.
Ways to watch
The girls’ game will be broadcasted live at this NFHS link.
The boys' game will be broadcasted live at this NFHS link.