Many of us live no more than a fifteen minute drive from the home of the hockey team, the San Jose Sharks. One could infer Mountain View High School would have a very passionate hockey community. As it turns out, we do.Dozens of Mountain View students flock to the games in hopes of seeing Joe Thornton net the puck and swing his arms over his head in a moment of celebration. Hundreds more flock to their couches to watch these moments in high definition, showing their colors with an array of snapback hats more diverse than colored parrots at the zoo.
Drawing from this snappily-dressed and vehemently involved student figure, it would not be surprising to find out that the Mountain View High School roller and ice hockey program was competing in CCS year after year. If you had drawn this conclusion, you would be sorely mistaken. As it turns out, Mountain View doesn’t even have a hockey team. In fact, while once a school club, it was abolished because in order to remain a legitimate, school-sanctioned entity, the organization must find an advisor to attend each event. Due to the fact that the club leaders were unable to find a MVHS staff member willing to sanction their weekend games, the club was disbanded. This exclusion of a legitimate and highly popular sport is a gross injustice to the members of the hockey community.
“When I was a freshman, Mountain View had 4 teams and about 8 people per team. Every year since then we have gone down a team. So right now we have 1 team with 7 people. Popularity wise, we have the lowest fan attendance for sure, but all of our games are in San Jose. We don’t expect anyone besides parents and family members to come,” senior Kevin Drew stated morosely.
He and many others fear greatly for the future of hockey for those attending Mountain View. In light of the hockey club’s demise, many students have taken to participating in leagues not associated with the school, based in San Jose. The fact that Mountain View has vilified an entire sport based solely on the premise that not one adult could give up a few hours of their weekend to help the youth grow as both people and athletes is saddening.
“I know a few of the other players like it when people come…and we would love more participation, especially from underclassmen because it looks like there will not be a team after I graduate,” Drew noted. “I have really enjoyed playing hockey and it’s a big part of my high school experience. As a worldwide community I think hockey has a pretty welcoming community.”
After polling several students at Mountain View High School, I started to realize just why participation in the hockey community is suffering. “Wait. There’s a hockey team at this school? Like, like pushing and shoving and passing the puck on skates type of hockey?” were the words of one anonymous student at Mountain View. How can you have a steady flow of young athletes actively signing up and joining this community if they don’t even know it exists, not to mention the inaccessibility due to location for many?
Both ice and roller hockey are valid sports with a core set of values and morals to instill in young athletes. It has a hugely positive impact on the lives of many community members, some of whom you might not even know play. Kevin provided one particularly moving story he had observed through his involvement in hockey.
“For example, the You Can Play project which is trying to end homophobia in sports and then after Jack Jablonski, a high school player, was injured really badly there was a huge community effort to help him,” Drew explained.
This inspirational movement is one of many components which the hockey community has to offer. Not only is is beneficial to the spirit of community and good citizenship, but it promotes physical engagement and development. If the participation from Mountain View students was to drop below a feasible number to field a team, students would find themselves unable to play the sport they love. It is simply not right for this to happen. Mountain View needs to embrace the hockey community as something that can contribute to the good of the students and the community. If not that, at least promote and encourage participation in the teams formed by students, so people are aware of its existence. Hockey shapes participants better as people, as athletes, and and teammates, what is there to be gained from turning our backs on this small, yet determined community.
If you have any interest in learning more and/or signing up, you can contact Kevin Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org