By Matt Noonan
In normal times, the high school winter sports season, both here in New England and around the country, would be well underway. But these are not normal times.
Due to the coronavirus, some states, including Massachusetts, are playing some sports this winter – of course, they don’t look like they usually do with mask-wearing to social distancing – while others like Alaska, Connecticut, and Virginia have yet to play a single regular season basketball contest as of this morning. Those states are set to begin competition later this month, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which recently unveiled its ‘Winter Sports Season Guide‘ on Friday, January 15.
The NFHS guide provides high school sports fans with a closer look – well, more a breakdown, to be exact – of who is playing and who is not to what states, including California, Hawaii, and Nevada that have yet to play a single sport this school year (2020-21).
When it comes to wearing masks during competition, 11 states, including Arizona, Kansas, and Kentucky, have mandated that everyone wears them except when competing while 19 states, including Massachusetts and New Hampshire, require all participants to cover their face, both on the bench and on the ice or hardwood.
While basketball was certainly the focus of this particular update, there were some interesting notes worth sharing (below) on the state of high school hockey:
- Nine states are currently playing hockey – in fact, Ohio and Wisconsin started their respective seasons last November.
- Six states have not dropped the puck this winter, including Connecticut, Michigan, and New York. Here in New England, Rhode Island has yet to announce when its schools will be able to play games, but practices are permitted. Vermont is currently not allowing its various programs to compete or practice.
- Five states will conclude their respective seasons without a state championship while five others have yet to announce plans for postseason competition. Five states, including Alaska, Michigan, and North Dakota, have announced dates for their respective state finals.
While it is nice to see some states (and areas of the country) playing basketball and hockey, we certainly know these games should look a bit different – shall we say normal? – hopefully next fall and winter. But for now, make sure to wear your mask, social distance, and wash those hands.