A new hockey team is on the way to Bismarck as the Bismarck Public School Board voted Monday night to add a Legacy High School boys hockey team for the 2021 school year.
It was a unanimous decision for the Bismarck school board, but one that did not come easy as both advocates and opponents of the idea spoke to the school board Monday night.
“Their numbers that they are projecting to have as hockey players we wish we were there, but we’re not,” former hockey coach Brad Miller said.
“This is about us kids playing the game,” Legacy high school student Tyler Miller said. “We are asking that the board look at the bigger picture, which is allowing 25 plus more kids that love the game of hockey, that some of us have been playing 12 years, to play without losing another year.”
While some argue that the Legacy program will pull players away from Bismarck High, activities director Dave Zittleman says the projected number of athletes for the next five years will be sufficient for maintaining a program, or going to a co-op if needed later on.
“Looking at the numbers and the opportunities I believe are there and I think that we can be sustainable,” Zittleman said. “It will be a great energy for youth hockey. Something to look forward to.”
With a boy’s team now approved for 2021, and a Legacy girls team approved for 2022, the concern is now finding enough places, and times, for all teams to practice.
“Everybody knows we want more ice for kids, and this gives us an opportunity to continue to grow as our teams grow, so I think this is best for kids in our district,” school board member Dan Eastgate said.
The board discussed potential opportunities with its partner Bismarck Parks and Rec. Donnell Preskey cited a recent survey sent out regarding a new recreation center, saying that could create new avenues for facilities with ice.
“I think their findings might be telling as well as far as what they may do as far as next steps there as well,” Preskey said.
Zittleman added that he is already exploring ways to accommodate all the high school teams in the area.
“If people want to see it happen we can find ways to get it done,” Eastage said. “I think we can in our community.”
The board ultimately decided to add the Legacy boy’s team for the upcoming school year to offset adding two teams in the same season with the girl’s program being added in 2022.