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Leechburg Area may join hockey program at Ford City

| Thursday, April 3, 2008

District students may have an opportunity to join a hockey team consisting of players from five other high schools.

The school district has been offered a chance to enter into a joint program with Ford City High School's hockey program.

District Principal Cynthia Portman said if Leechburg Area were to enter into the agreement, students would join a team consisting of players from West Shamokin, Riverview, Ford City, and Butler Area high schools.

The co-ed program has a no-cut policy, and would be offered to students at no cost to the district, Portman said. However, the agreement does come with a stipulation.

School board members were concerned that if they sign the agreement, students who currently play for Valley High School's co-op hockey program no longer will have that chance.

"If we sign the co-op it would preclude students from being able to join any other leagues," Portman said.

Board member Terry Knepshield asked if the district doesn't "say anything," what would happen.

Portman said if that were the case, students wouldn't be able to play for the hockey program.

Students will have to meet academic eligibility requirements.

Leechburg Area freshman Luke Verner plans to try out for the Ford City co-op team tonight.

Verner's only concern is that Ford City could "boot all the other schools out" if its program ever becomes a large school and able to go solo with its hockey program.

"If the district gets large enough, Leechburg could be pushed to the side," she said.

Board member David Matuscin said he feels that entering into the co-op program is a good opportunity for the students.

The program would be signed under a yearly agreement.

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