Meadville Tribune


July 3, 2014

Bulldogs rejoin PIHL after four-year hiatus

MEADVILLE — In “Back to the Future,” Marty McFly had to get his parents together after accidentally interrupting their first meeting. In the end, McFly united his parents and returned to where he belonged.

Meadville hockey head coach Jamie Plunkett confirmed Thursday that the Meadville Bulldog hockey program was returning to where it belonged: the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League — where it won eight state titles.

Meadville spent the last four seasons as a member of the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League, playing many of its games as the CCYHA Midget Flames. That comes to an end this season.

Plunkett is hoping the return to the PIHL helps the Bulldogs regain their championship identity.

“I think as a brand, the fans know us as the Bulldogs,” said Plunkett. “So when we played as the Midget Flames, I think it got a little confusing. Now, we will play every game as the Bulldogs, which I think people are used to.”

There will, however, be some changes.

For starters, the Bulldogs will not play Class A, AA or AAA hockey. Instead, the team will compete in Tier I of the Co-op Division, which was formerly known as the Open Division. Tier I is the more competitive of the two co-op divisions, and Meadville will include players from Meadville, Saegertown, Conneaut and Jamestown as it works to become a team of just students from Meadville.

“That is the goal,” said Plunkett. “The PIHL will monitor each team and make a decision as to when a team can be counted as ‘pure.’ Then we will play in a normal Class A, AA or AAA division.”

Plunkett is unsure when that will occur for the Bulldogs.

There is some possibility that all players will not have to come from Meadville Area Senior High School. The PIHL board, which was overhauled a year ago, is looking at the situation with a lot more flexibility. While co-op teams are not allowed in regular divisions right now, that could change in the future.

“The best they could tell me is that they would take it a year at a time,” said Plunkett.

In many respects, that is far more than the previous PIHL board did.

For Plunkett, this new board is one reason he and the Crawford County Youth Hockey Association looked into rejoining the PIHL. This board, according to Plunkett, is made up of people who played hockey, coached hockey or was a parent involved in hockey. For the most part, they understand the ups and downs of trying to compete in the sport, he said.

“It is a different monster,” said Plunkett. “And it is expensive. It would be nice if every school had a team and we could all cut down on travel and so forth. Unfortunately, that is not the case.”

The move back is also a coup for the PIHL.

It is not often you get to add an eight-time state champion to your roster of teams. To bring the Bulldogs back from the PIHL is a positive for the league, as well.

Plunkett was quick to point out that the league change had nothing to do with the PAHL.

“We had a great experience in the PAHL,” said Plunkett. “In fact, the competition, I think, really made our players better. But given our size, it just makes sense to return to the high school hockey we were used to.”

With the team’s affiliation set, Plunkett is already crossing off the key dates.

The first was the move. Second was his announcement that Bryan Ray would be the team’s captain for the 2014-15 season. Ray, a senior, was the Tribune’s Hockey Co-Player of the Year with Owen Miller this past season and was also recently named the Tribune’s Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.

“The next key thing for us will be getting our schedule,” said Plunkett. “From there it is getting ready for the season. And for the players, none of them have any PIHL experience. So it will be a first for them.”

There is also a pending decision to be made about the Lakeshore Hockey League. Plunkett was unsure what direction that would go, as there was some concern over the viability of the league. He said they would make a decision on whether to remain in the Lakeshore league once they have answers on how the league is going to shape up.

“In either case we will continue to play those teams in non-league games,” said Plunkett. “So there will continue to be some relationship.”

Text Only
  • Trevor Smith St. Marys tops METS to win title

    When it’s two good teams going head-to-head in the game of baseball, sometimes a simple bad bounce can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy builds 6-shot lead at British Open

    Rory McIlroy looks as if he has just thrown a knockout punch at the British Open, and it was only Saturday.

    July 19, 2014

  • osborne.jpg District 1 rolls in state opener

    Evidently, Jenkins Township wasn’t aware of Mark McKissock’s exceptional coaching skills.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Andrew Mook Meadville rallies in seventh for victory

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Union City wins thriller

    Down to its last out of the seventh inning, the Union City Junior League softball team recorded three base hits, including a walk-off game-winner by Bree Kinney, while defeating McLane/Meadville/Vernon 3-2 in a thrilling loser’s bracket final of the Pennsylvania Section 1 All-Star tournament on Thursday at Cochranton.

    July 17, 2014

  • Lake/Linesville dealt heartbreaker

    Throughout the District 1 and Section 1 tournaments, Fred Garvey watched as his Lake/Linesville all-star baseball team battled time and time again.

    July 17, 2014

  • Celebration at the plate Richardson’s arm, bat help Lake/Linesville stay alive

    Baseball is a team sport. Win as a team. Lose as a team.
    But it doesn’t mean that one player on that team can’t have a really, really great game.
    That brings us to Conneaut Lake/Linesville’s Ryan Richardson.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuBois too much for MV

    DuBois’ defense hasn’t been as tight as coach Justin Bundy would like throughout its all-star run.
    And on Wednesday evening the miscues continued, allowing McLane/Vernon to jump on top early in the winner’s bracket final of the Section 1 Junior League softball tournament at Cochranton High School.

    July 16, 2014

  • Garvey scores Lake/Linesville keeps Section 1 title hopes alive

    The Conneaut Lake/Linesville 9 & 10 Year Old All-Stars watched one lead slip away from them on Monday night during a loss to Franklin.
    On Tuesday, they were not going to let it happen again.
    Relief pitcher Alex Nottingham got a called strike three with the bases-loaded and two outs in the top of the sixth, ending a back-and-forth battle with LeBoeuf for an 8-7 victory during loser’s bracket action at the Pennsylvania Section 1 Tournament yesterday at the Crawford County Fairgrounds Fields.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cochranton wins CVAL title

    Prior to the start of the American Legion season, Cochranton coach Randy Staudt went knocking on doors in four different townships trying to recruit players for his squad.
    He didn’t have much luck. However, a slender ballplayer from Guys Mills signed on the dotted line and is the reason why Staudt hoisted the Crawford-Venango American Legion championship trophy on Monday night.

    July 14, 2014

Sports Scoreboard
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Business Marquee
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success

The latest proposed expansion plan for the Crawford County Courthouse potentially would eliminate the former Tarr Mansion on Diamond Park to make room for a county administrative building. Should the 1860 mansion be demolished?

Leave it alone because it’s historic.
Try to incorporate it into the proposed expansion.
It’s too far gone to save, but it’s memory may be preserved with an artifacts and photo display within the proposed courthouse complex.
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide