Milaca looking at another hockey co-op

It’s possible that Milaca High School students could be playing with the Mora hockey team next winter.

Activities director Jerry Westphal told School Board members at their July 17 meeting that Mora athletic director Gary Gauffin had talked with him about that possibility.

Mora already has a co-op agreement with Hinckley-Finlayson but the numbers for the Mora-Hinckley-Finlayson team are down, he told Westphal.

“We do have a couple ninth-grade students very interested [in playing at Mora],” Westphal said at the board meeting.

Westphal said that he thought one of those students would open enroll in another district if there was no opportunity to play hockey at Milaca.

Asked about costs, Westphal responded that it would cost the district $160 to join the Minnesota State High School League as a hockey school.

Students would be responsible for travel and for fees required by the Mora district, he said.

Westphal gave board members a handout that showed the fee for playing hockey in the Mora district had been approximately $1,500 the past five years.

Westphal said he planned to talk with parents of the interested students “to see what their interest is.”

“I think it would be a good situation if it works out,” he said, noting that it would be a good way to keep a student or students from leaving the district.

Milaca formerly had a co-op arrangement with Becker/Big Lake, and then later with Princeton.

The agreement with Princeton ended when it appeared Princeton would have to move up a class because of the combined enrollment of the two schools.

Westphal told board members that Faith Christian in Foreston had expressed some interest in having a football co-op with Milaca but that Westphal had turned down the request because of the enrollment situation, similar to the case with Princeton and Milaca in hockey.

Combining with Faith Christian would have moved Milaca up from Class 3A to Class 4A, Westphal said, and he didn’t feel that would be fair to the Milaca team.

Although no action was taken, board members appeared open to the idea of the co-op agreement with Mora in hockey if there is interest from students.