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School board to reconsider hockey fee hike

North Shore Storm boys hockey coach Mike Guzzo addressed the Lake Superior School District school board at its meeting July 10. Guzzo's main concern was the board's recent decision to raise hockey participation fees by $100.

The increase would set hockey apart from all other athletic participation fees — currently set at $175 each — by raising it to $275. The district estimates the increase in fees could increase revenue by as much as $5,800.

Guzzo began by presenting the board with statistics about the hockey teams, including how last year's program included over 40 players on the junior varsity and varsity teams, and how despite many hours of travel to tournaments, the top 20 players had an average grade-point average of 3.6.

"So, I guess what I'm wondering, then, is why we raised the fee $100 for only hockey players?" Guzzo said. "For hockey to get, I don't want to say 'picked on,' it's kind of hit me. I mean, I feel like we keep asking these kids to pay for more and more."

North Shore Storm players are provided with a jersey, a pair of socks and a pair of pants when they join the team. Players are asked to provide their own equipment, including skates, sticks, helmets and pads. Guzzo argued this raised the price for students to play hockey significantly versus other sports where equipment is provided.

"Back when I was playing on the team, in the '70s, we were given six hockey sticks for the season. Granted, this was also when the sticks were just made of wood," Guzzo said. "But prices for equipment go up every year and this is one of the only sports where we ask the students to pay for it themselves."

Guzzo asked the board to reconsider the decision prior to the start of the hockey season.

"I don't want to see my hockey kids pay an extra hundred. I'd rather see my softball girls pay another $25 or something. I'd rather it be spread more across the board," Guzzo said.

Board members informally agreed to more closely examine the athletics activity fee structure at a future meeting or workshop.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. 

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