To break or not to break | VailDaily.com

To break or not to break

Basketball, hockey, wrestling and skiing teams start practices in November, have a heavy schedule in December and then everything just stops.

Christmas break – two weeks off with no player-coach contact, no games and no practices.

Go to California, Texas, Florida or just about any other state and you’ll find Holiday Classics-galore. Not in Colorado.

The Colorado High School Activities Association’s board of control met Thursday to address this issue and among others. While the decision won’t come down for weeks, if not months, there is no shortage of opinions on both sides at Battle Mountain.

From Huskies athletic director Fred Koetteritz down to winter-sports coaches, there is one consensus opinion – there should be a few days off for family time during the holiday season. Perhaps, this break takes place with about three days of no-contact around Christmas and maybe New Year’s off.

After that, opinions vary.

“I’m split on it. I think the kids need a break,” Koetteritz said. “However, I think there could be some happy medium, where they might be allowed to continue their training and not stop all together.”

But Koetteritz was firm on his stand on games during the break.

“I would only be in favor of only being allowed to train and practice,” he said. “I don’t know that there’s a need for competition in there. I think our schedules are spread pretty thin as they are now.”

Hockey is a murkier area with regard to break. It’s not uncommon for a high-school team to trade its CHSAA uniforms for their club garb and play in a holiday tournament or two down on the Front Range.

But Huskies hockey coach Jade Kersey, who also heads up the Vail Junior Hockey Association, likes the CHSAA rule.

“I like the way it is,” Kersey said. “Family and other things are important too. Personally, I think it’s a nice break and a time for the kids to be with their families.”

Kersey would like to see one modification to the holiday rule, though. He’d like to see practices allowed a little earlier than Jan. 2 as the rule stands now.

“This year we had a situation where we had one day of practice after the break and then games back-to back,” he said. “Maybe we have a break from before Christmas until something like (Dec.) 28, so we can get a few sessions in before the season kicks off again.”

When it comes to Huskies’ basketball, the school’s two coaches – David Hite and Philip Tronsrue – are firmly in favor of holiday practices and games.

“I believe that we should be able to practice during that window. I believe that we should be able to schedule games,” Tronsrue said. “The greatest thing is that we should be able to have a tournament up here. Heck, everybody in America would want to come to Vail, Colorado, between the 20th of December and the second of January. If we could do something, we’re going to get something going.”

Once again emphasizing that two-a-days on Christmas would not be part of the plan, Hite believes that the two weeks off come December takes its toll on the continuity of his team’s season.

“That’s right at your halfway point. You’ve got some chemistry going. You’ve got some schedules with practices going. Then, all of a sudden, it’s two weeks and sometimes three weeks until you play a game,” Hite said. “Right after Christmas is always when league play starts. Getting them back, you have league play and two weeks after that, it’s finals. From Christmas until this next week, it’s all jumbled.”

Also on the table for CHSAA is expanding basketball’s regular season from 19 to 22 games.

Count Tronsrue in on that proposal. Having coached in Missouri, where the regular season is 26 games, he said, “That makes me excited. I think we need more than 22 games, but 19’s ridiculous or archaic.”

News and Notes

When it comes to Battle Mountain hockey, the good news is that the Huskies are healthier than their coach. Kersey’s got the stomach virus that seems to be going through town, but Steve Reid is clearly on the mend.

The senior forward, who was originally done for the season when he dislocated his hip in December, is expected to return to the ice tonight against Palmer.

“Obviously, he’s back much quicker than we originally anticipated,” the coach said. “His progress has been outstanding, but we’re not going to overwork him. He hasn’t been on the ice in a game situation for a while, so we’re probably going to pull the reins back on him a bit.”

The Huskies face Palmer at 7 tonight, followed by Liberty at 5 p.m., on Saturday Both games are at the Air Force Academy. As was the case last season, fans attending the game should leave extra time for security checks and no backpacks and the like are allowed in the arena. Also, note the time change for the Liberty game, which was moved from 4 to 5 p.m. For those not going to see Liberty-Battle Mountain, the game will be on the radio on KZYR.

Meanwhile, both basketball teams will be down in Gypsum tonight watching the Devils face Roaring Fork. Consider it a scouting expedition. The Huskies and Devils meet in Eagle-Vail Tuesday with tip-times coming at 6:30 and 8 p.m.

Super Bowl picks: Koetteritz and Hite for the Bucs; Tronsrue, Kersey and Dickie Dunn (Chris Freud) for the Raiders.

Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at cfreud@vaildaily.com.