The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Board of Control approved a first consideration of a conference alignment plan for eight-player football — which will include Three Lakes — beginning in 2020 at its May meeting.

The plan places eight-player programs into eight, six-team conferences across the state. Each conference will be paired with another six-team league in their region to provide crossover games.

In the northeast region, Conference A will include Three Lakes with 150 students, Florence (108), Suring (123), Elcho-White Lake (144), Wausaukee (153) and Wabeno-Laona (182). Conference B will include Lena-St. Thomas Aquinas (132), Gillett (155), Gibraltar (183), Sevastopol (194), Algoma (234) and Green Bay New Lutheran-Providence-Oneida Nation (275).

Membership rules require a 40-day window for schools involved in conference alignment plans to appeal the first consideration of the board before it takes final action. Thus, schools have until June 26, 2019, to file an appeal of the initial vote. The board will give final consideration of the plan at its meeting on Aug. 9, 2019.

Meanwhile, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Ice Hockey Rules Committee recommended changes at its April meeting in Indianapolis, and all changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Three changes in Rule 3 related to equipment expand the maximum length of a player’s stick from 63 to 65 inches and the goalkeeper’s stick from 26 to 28 inches. Additionally, Rule 3-4-5 now emphasizes the requirement that all players, including goalkeepers, must wear helmets and facemasks that meet HECC/ASTM standards at the time of manufacture.

“From an awareness and educational standpoint, the committee continues to push the importance of wearing proper equipment for the health and safety of our participants,” said Dan Schuster, NFHS director of educational services and liaison to the Ice Hockey Rules Committee. “The committee has done a great job over the past several years and has put the rules in a good place.”

Rule 7-10-3 now clarifies that striking an opponent with the stick above the opponent’s shoulders is prohibited, regardless of whether the action was intentional or not. The change also eliminates repetitive language to allow the official to assess the appropriate penalty for an infraction.

“This creates consistency with other fouls of this nature,” Schuster said. “It gives officials flexibility to call what they see. Officials can call a minor penalty or if flagrant, a major penalty or game disqualification, depending on the severity of the infraction.”

In Rule 5-3i, referees will now suspend the game — as opposed to terminating the game — if playing conditions become unsatisfactory. Suspending a contest allows it to be resumed, restarted or ended, with the decision resting with the schools, leagues and administration rather than solely with the referee.