Capital Region

Pandemic affecting CDHSHL postseason schedule; CBA, a top seed, out of field

Ryan Dolan, left, and Shenendehowa's Calvin Hicks go after a loose puck Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

Ryan Dolan, left, and Shenendehowa's Calvin Hicks go after a loose puck Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

Before the Capital District High School Hockey League playoffs could even get started with Wednesday’s quarterfinals, a pair of programs were eliminated.

La Salle was recently removed from the playoff picture due to issues related to COVID-19, while it was learned Tuesday night that CBA — one of the tournament’s projected top seeds — will also need to sit out the playoffs after it played the Cadets last weekend.

CBA head coach Blaine Drescher confirmed that development Tuesday night. Drescher said that notification came from the Albany County Department of Health based on contact tracing from the team’s weekend series against La Salle.

“We finished our practice and our preparation for [Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa], and in the parking lot of the hockey rink we were told our season was over,” Drescher said. “Anybody who was dressed for the game, with the exposure, they would be done for the remainder of the season regardless of how long they played in that game.”

The area’s high school hockey postseason saw multiple changes made to it in the last couple days. With La Salle’s removal from postseason consideration, both Albany Academy and the CD Jets were added to the field rather than those two teams needing to vie for the final available spot from the South Division. Then, with CBA — which earned the South Division’s No. 1 seed — exiting the field, the GMSVS Storm were inserted into CBA’s spot and will now play Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa Wednesday night at Schenectady County Recreational Facility.

Guilderland athletic director David Austin confirmed late Tuesday night that the GMSVS team — which is made up of athletes from Guilderland, Mohonasen, Schalmont, Voorheesville and Scotia-Glenville — had been added into the postseason field.

And . . . it’s possible the field, which is supposed to consist of four teams apiece from the CDHSHL’s North and South Divisions, could see further changes. Shenendehowa head coach Juan de la Rocha’s top-seeded Plainsmen from the North Division are scheduled to play the CD Jets Wednesday, but de la Rocha said the CD Jets were under COVID-19 quarantine precautions through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Shenendehowa’s head coach said he’s unsure how the postseason schedule will adjust if the CD Jets are unable to play, but his team is keeping its focus on itself.

“I feel that we’re at our best when we’re focusing on the things that we know that we do best,” de la Rocha said. “There is not a lot of time to over-analyze, which is a good thing.”

Shenendehowa is 7-1-1 heading into the playoffs.

“Two weeks ago, I had a lot of things I was worried about; there were a lot of things to fix and a lot of things to improve on,” de la Rocha said. “In the last two or three games, we’ve really been starting to hit our stride.”

Teams from different divisions did not play each other during this shortened season, which began after a lengthy wait for “high” risk winter sports competition to be authorized by the state Department of Health and local health authorities. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association is not sponsoring state championship competition in any sport this year.

Saratoga Springs coach Tim Horst said that lack of familiarity with potential playoff opponents makes for a more challenging postseason road for all teams that are able to play.

“When it’s a one-and-done situation, it kind of heightens everything — your responsibilities and your mistakes,” Horst said. “Even more than normal, you have to play within yourself and within your game plan. You have to lean a little bit more on your teammates and come together as a team.”

CDHSHL PLAYOFFS

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10

Quarterfinals: Saratoga Springs at Bethlehem, 3:15; CD Jets at Shenendehowa, 3:45; Albany Academy at Adirondack, 4; Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa at GMSVS, 8:30.

FRIDAY, MARCH 12

Semifinals: at higher seed.

SATURDAY, MARCH 13

Championship: TBD.

Categories: -The Daily Gazette, High School Sports, Sports

One Comment

Thanks a lot Albany County Health Department. How does playing in a hockey game vs a person with Covid constitute close contact? The players wear masks. They are separated before, during and after the game. They get dressed in the parking lot and they can’t use lockers rooms. They don’t even shake hands after the game. All are Covid precautions established by the high school Section 2 AD’s in consultation with each county’s DOH in order to play high-risk winter sports. But what for? One student at an opposing school, that skated 5 shifts over the course of 2 games causes the other schools entire team to quarantine. It’s been 4 days since the last possible exposure. Let them test out of quarantine.

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