When hockey players from Enfield's two high schools take to the ice for the annual four-team jamboree Saturday, a few changes will have taken place since the end of last season.
The combined Fermi-Enfield team, which was a co-op last season for the first time, has added players from two other area high schools, following a special ruling by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Board of Control.
In a news release issued Friday, the CIAC reported: "The Board considered a proposed change in the CIAC by-law from the CIAC Cooperative Team Committee to allow more than three schools to form cooperative teams as long as the maximum number of participants from any one school and the total of all schools does not exceed the maximum combined allowed. The Board approved the proposal, which will take effect immediately."
Under the ruling, players from East Granby and Stafford high schools will play alongside the Enfield skaters. The team will be known as the Fermi-Enfield Falcons, head coach Frank Genovese said.
"They didn't change the policy (of a maximum of three schools in a co-op), but made an exception as long as the numbers aren't large," coordinator of athletics Barry Bernstein said.
East Granby had formerly been part of a co-op which included Windsor and Avon. Stafford players skated with Rockville-Manchester through last season, but were left without a place to play when Rockville struck out on its own.
The addition of players from the two schools brings the new co-op's roster to 24 players: 19 skaters and five goaltenders.
The other major change is the movement of the program into Division II.
"The move to D-II is great for the program," Genovese said. "It's going to mean a much more competitive schedule down the road. We only had three Division I wins in the past two years. You want to walk into every game knowing you have a chance to win, and that's going to be more beneficial to us down the road."
The team still faces a demanding league schedule, with two games each against CCC North rivals Glastonbury, South Windsor and Simsbury, all Division I programs. Fermi-Enfield also plays a pair of league games against Conard, which, like the Falcons, moved to Division II status for this season.
The season-opening jamboree, which includes Suffield, Tri-Town and East Catholic, kicks off Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Enfield Twin Rinks.