Editorial: A reaction to the CIAC canceling remainder of Winter Sports Championships


Christian Gardecki, Sports Editor

After an exciting first night of the CIAC Boys Basketball and Hockey Tournaments, it looked like we were going to have another fun winter championship season, culminating in the championships for both sports at Yale and Mohegan Sun at the end of next weekend.

On the morning of March 10th, CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini announced that the remainder of the tournaments, for Boys and Girls Basketball (Who were at the Semi-Final Stages), Boys Ice Hockey, and Boys Swimming and Diving would be canceled due to the concern for COVID-19 (CoronaVirus). 

The backlash received by the CIAC has been insurmountable. A petition was started by former Fairfield Prep Goaltender Jake Walker, telling the CIAC to continue the tournaments but with no fans. At the time of this article, the petition, which has made its way through the internet on Barstool Sports, has over 95,000 signatures in 48 hours. 

Now, for those that don’t know. I play hockey here at Danbury High School, (yes we have a hockey team). I am one of the captains for the three school co-op with Brookfield and Bethel. Now, we didn’t make the State Tournament, and the DHS boys and girls basketball teams were both eliminated in the first rounds of their tournaments, so while this doesn’t affect those teams, the swimming team still had their State Class LL and Open championships.

I know kids who I played with in youth, who were yet to play in Division 1, including Immaculate, as well as kids from Notre Dame-Fairfield, and in Division 3, Housatonic Co-Op, the 15 seed, upset the 2 seed Newington Co-Op, setting up for a matchup with Norwalk/McMahon. For Housy and Norwalk, it would be a chance for a first-ever trip to Yale, and for me, I played hockey with players on both teams. I played with the Housy Players in 8th grade, while I skated with the Norwalk kids in the preseason of 10th grade. 

This was a game that was very interesting throughout the state, Norwalk was having its best season since 2005 and was undefeated in Division 3. While Housy was an underdog, beating Newington to make it to the 2nd round. I talked to my friends on both sides to see their reactions. Housy Senior Defenseman Riley Mollica, who scored the 3rd goal in their win on Monday, said; “this is so upsetting, not the outcome we expected.”  Norwalk Senior Captain Jeb Boyrer said “four years of hard work, all for nothing.” Both Wrestling and Track and Field national championships have been cancelled because of the virus.

Even my teammates got in on the discussion.  DHS Sophomore and BBD Goaltender Louie Alfidi said; “The state won’t let 60 kids at max play a game, but the state is fine with sending me to school where I have to eat at a lunch table where 3,600 have already eaten that day. The state is fine with putting me in a small room with 30 kids in it to learn about world history.” Alfidi makes a point. Discussions have surfaced if school should be closed in lieu of online classes.

Barstool Sports personality and Spittin’ Chiclets producer Mike Grinnell said: “Imagine being a senior sitting in English class and finding out your last season of organized sports with your best friends just got canceled?” Grinnell makes a strong point, and keep in mind that the Division 1 first-round had not started for hockey, and for girls basketball, in some divisions, had already reached the semi-finals.

On March 11, student athletes protested at the CIAC Offices in Cheshire, where there were over 200 people protesting and chanting “Let Us Play!” 

As a fellow senior, my heart breaks for the players whose careers have ended because of this.