Newburyport hockey coach Paul Yameen has seen the competitiveness of the Cape Ann League decline in recent years, and he’s not about to let his program decline with it.
The man who coached the Clippers to a Division 2 championship in 2009 has a grand plan, and it includes moving his program to Division 1, renovating his home rink’s locker rooms, and eventually competing for a Super 8 berth.
Triton coach Drew Wile, who has never been known to set the bar low for his program, has joined forces with Yameen. He is also looking to take his Division 2 program to Division 1, and his program is sharing the fundraising responsibilities for the Graf Rink’s locker room renovation.
It doesn’t appear that the move to Division 1 will happen for either team next season. Newburyport athletic director John Daileanes and Triton athletic director Donna Andersen proposed the move to other Cape Ann League athletic directors at the last league meeting. The CAL athletic directors voted against the proposal, keeping Newburyport and Triton in the ever-shrinking league for another year.
The CAL has taken some significant hits in recent seasons. Two years ago, Wilmington left for the Middlesex League after dominating the CAL for much of the 21st century. After last season, North Andover left for the Merrimack Valley Conference, leaving the CAL with seven schools heading into this season.
Masconomet has also made no secret of the fact that it would like to move to the Northeastern Conference next season, threatening to leave the CAL with six teams, one more than the minimum requirement for an MIAA-sanctioned league.
On the plus side, Saugus was recently accepted into the CAL for next season, and Winthrop may follow. Until those moves are finalized, CAL athletic directors will block Newburyport and Triton’s proposal to move to independent status as Division 1 programs.