It isn’t an official part of their proposal to the Maine Principals’ Association, but the boys hockey coaches say that more regular season contests would entice more players to participate in boys high school hockey, rather than leave early or forgo it all together in favor of prep school or junior hockey.

Youth hockey players play as many as 50-60 games per season. When they reach high school, that number drops to 18 regular season games plus the number of postseason contests their teams earn.

“At the end of the day, if the powers at be, the administration, if they want hockey to be a serious sport and they want to improve high school hockey, we are more than capable of doing so,” Biddeford/Massabesic/Old Orchard Beach coach Ethan Bassile said. “Increasing the games per season would really go a long way in helping us do that.”

Bassile said he’d like the number of regular season games to be increased to 22 to 24.

Maine hiockey teams used to play more games. Edward Little coach Norm Gagne, who will be coaching his 50th season this winter, said that when he was coaching at Waterville in the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s, his teams had up to 35 games, including exhibitions, on their schedule. But in an effort to cut costs, the MPA in 2008 began to limit the number of days to play exhibitions to five, and the number of regular season games in hockey decreased from 20 to 18.

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