Ice Hawks go unnoticed


Quinn Snyder, Drake Mosko, and Jeffery Bennett sit on the boards waiting for warmups to begin. Photo by Jason Gizzarelli

Andrew Banocy

Although producing some fun alliteration, “Hayfield” and “Hockey” are two words that don’t quite sound normal together. The Hayfield Ice Hawks have been a non-affiliated team for several years now, yet there is never a cease of surprise when people are informed about their playing. 

An interview with Hayfield’s director of student activities Edward Nowland revealed that unlike football or volleyball, two popular sports at Hayfield, ice hockey is not a Virginia High School League (VHSL) approved sport.

 “We support it the best we can, when there’s tweets out I’ll retweet it, and when you guys win I’ll say great job,” Nowland said. “But we have to be careful… if we put non-VHSL teams on a schedule with VHSL teams… it kind of muddies the water.” 

Opinions are synonymous when it comes to the hard working athletes and supporting students themselves, with Hayfield’s star goaltender Connor Murphy (12) believing in approval.

Goaltender Connor Murphy preparing for a sharp angle shot from the corner. Photo by Dave Fowler

“They should approve us because not only do we have enough players to field a team, but because it would attract more students to learn to play or join the team,” Murphy said “We play one of the most exciting and competitive sports, and approving our sport in the VHSL would also allow for students to come out and watch our games because of the increased recognition.”

Avid Washington Capitals fan and former ice hockey player Madelyn Curriera (12) matches Murphy’s belief that the VHSL should recognize ice hockey as an approved high school sport. 

“Even though it’s a joint team with other high schools, they compete well, and there are other schools that want to [participate],” Curriera said. “It’s a sport that [Hayfield] plays really well, and I know a lot of people who would be interested and very involved with it.” 

And her views are in fact supported with concrete evidence. Although the team, containing five total schools (Hayfield, South County, Lewis, Meridian, and Edison), has been shaky in the past, they have bounced back, winning their first games last year and starting the fall of 2021 undefeated. Definitely knowing how to give the opponent a tough time, they beat Forest Park/Hylton high schools by a score of 20-2, hammering a total of 57 shots on goal for a comeback win after giving up the first red light.

Unfortunately, it’s not likely that ice hockey will become VHSL approved, as an interview with VHSL associate director Tom Dolan revealed a little more depth about the process.

Hayfield ice hockey is always happy to welcome fans. Make some plans and head out to these upcoming games! Photo by Andrew Banocy

“Not enough VHSL schools offer the sport for it to meet the requirement, and no school division has asked for it to be considered,” Dolan said. “A school would have to ask for that consideration, [but it’s] always an ongoing process that is based on the membership input.”

So while it may be possible for the Hayfield ice hockey team to become VHSL approved, the lack of popularity for hockey in the local area makes it quite the uphill battle. However, VHSL approval or not, the Hayfield Ice Hawks and their affiliates will continue to play hard and win games.