There may be a few questions that Champlain Valley Union High School Activities Director Dan Shepardson has to answer when it comes to the winter sports season but “when are games going to start” isn’t one them.
The state of Vermont announced that high school winter sports competition was allowed to begin playing games on Friday, Feb. 12, at a press conference last week.
The Redhawk winter sports team - including basketball and ice hockey — will be allowed to begin games on Friday. Alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding and dance had already been allowed to begin competition.
“Coaches, players, everybody was very, very happy and excited,” Shepardson said about the announcement that games could begin. “We can play through March 13th. We’re going to get about five weeks of a season.”
Girls’ basketball will start things off with a home game against South Burlington on Friday, with boys’ basketball and both ice hockey teams starting on Saturday.
The Redhawks aren’t wasting any time.
“They were ready to release the games and the assignments once they knew if, and when we were going to start,” Shepardson said. “Now, we can get started.”
There will be some differences when CVU athletes step on the floor and the ice to start games. All athletes will be required to wear masks, there will be no spectators allowed and there will be some changes to the layouts, depending on the building.
“No fans, that’s pretty much the biggest change, it’s going to be incredibly quiet,” Shepardson said. “There’s no fist bumping, high-fiving, meet with the officials and the other players and stuff like that.”
The biggest question mark surrounding the season may be the requirement that all teams have three days in between games, that could raise issues if or when there are weather-related cancellations or teams need to make up games.
The other big question for Shepardson is streaming —CVU is planning to livestream all of its home games for families and fans to watch and the athletic director is currently working out the kinks in the system to have it ready for Friday.
Not a bad problem to have when there were questions about whether or not there would even be a winter season just weeks ago.
“We’ve got the opportunity to play,” Shepardson said. “It’s imperative that we all follow the rules and do the right thing. The Governor likes to use this term ‘opening the spigot’, he’s opened the spigot to allow us to play games.
“It can be closed and those games can go away. We just gotta, we gotta, we gotta do the right thing.”