NAVY HOCKEY OUGHT TO BE A VARSITY SPORT

THE BALTIMORE SUN

All right sports fans, I've got a diverse batch of Q's and A's for you today. We're going from ice hockey to boxing -- not to mention theusual meat-and-potatoes sports.

If you have reaction to anything from this corner, positive or negative, give me a call on the 24-hourSportsline, 647-2499, and fire away.

You know I'm always looking for your help and love when you call in with your big Q's.

* Isn't the U.S. Naval Academy missing the boat by not elevating ice hockey from club status to a varsity team?

The Navy club hockey team, which outdraws the men's basketball team, has qualified for the National Tournament a second straight year.

Consider this: On Saturday and Sunday, the ice hockey team drew about 2,500 fans (1,000 and 1,500) for the 15th Annual Crab Pot Tournament. Crowds like that have become commonplace for Navy hockey at Dahlgren Hall.

Monday night, the announced attendance for the men's hoop team playing UMBC at Halsey Field House was 774.

In fairness to the hoopsters, fans do pay to get in, and don't pay a penny to watch Navy hockey. But I believe this area has a large number of hard-core fans who would gladly pay to see varsity hockey.

Where else can hockey fans go in the county to watch their sport played at this level?

Making it a varsity sport at Navy also would produce revenue for the Naval Academy Athletic Association. Coach Jim Barry, a Massachusetts native who played at Boston College, knows what it takes to run afirst-class program.

* Do you agree with me that the decisive goal by Maryland in the Crab Pot final hit the pipe and did not go in the net?

As they headed back to the ice for what was supposed to be the third and final period, Crab Pot referee Bob Lieg said to his partner, Rich Palmer, "Twenty more minutes and we can get out of here."

With the game tied at 5-5 and about two minutes to go, I listened from behind the Navy bench as Lieg came over to ask Barry if there would be overtime, how long it would last and how much time there wouldbe for a break if regulation ended in a tie.

Why should a refereebe worried about OT?

The overtime lasted 15 seconds, with Leig saying the winning puck did not go in, but Palmer overruling, saying itbounced out. Navy goalie Richie Doyle, who thought it hit the pipe, said "we have loosely strung nets, and usually the puck just dies in there."

What do you think, considering the final goal was the onlyone of 11 scored on the afternoon that bounced out of the net?

Otherwise, wasn't that a great hockey game?

* Has anyone told Navy'sJeff Fogarty that he gave me a shot to the biceps as he plowed into the wall following his penalty box exile for misconduct?

I was standing in front of the wall behind the Navy bench. Fogarty tried to put his fist through the wall, and didn't realize he got a piece of me.

Aren't you glad to hear he didn't take me out?

* Have you boxing fans marked Feb. 21 and 28 on your calendar as the dates of the always-exciting and entertaining Navy Brigade semis and finals?

* Shouldn't it be an exciting pro boxing show tomorrow night at Michael'sEighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, with heavyweights Jerry Jones, who once duked it out with former WBO champ Ray Mercer, and ex-Army championNat Fitch in the main event?

Did you know some of the crowd-pleasing locals scheduled to fight on the Josh Hall-Victoria Savaliski card include: "Irish" Carson McCourry, Mark Padeletti, Cliff "The Hammer" McPherson, "Sugar Boy" Chew and Cecil Sims?

For last-minute information, call 760-2699.

* Are you football fans ready for the annual Annapolis Touchdown Club Banquet, set for Tuesday, Feb. 18, at St.Mary's High? Washington Redskins' linebacker coach Larry Peccatiellowill be the guest speaker.

The Annapolis TD Club honors the Navy football team, as well as high school and youth football teams. This year's prestigious Rhodes Trophy, for the best county player, will goto North County's Anthony Walker, who signed last week with Syracuse. The Al Laramore Lineman of the Year Award goes to Severna Park's Mike Miles.

And didn't the TD club make a good choice for its youth football award in volunteer Butch Zurvalec of GORC?

Tickets are $30 each. You can call Fred Paone (222-1740), Joe Devlin (766-7760) or Tom Kirby (263-0668) for more information.

* When was the last time you saw a youth basketball team show up for a game, with the players in coats and ties? Maryland City's 12-14 undefeated boys' team shows up Saturdays nattily attired at Northeast High.

Kids don't even wear a tie to church anymore, do they?

* Did you know that Brooklyn Park Broncos' 12-year-old cheerleader Lauren Pokrywka is going to sing the National Anthem Saturday at the 36th annual Baltimore Oriolesand Baltimore County Baseball Clinic at Parkville High?

Isn't it neat that Lauren, the young lady who impressed fans at our Oriolelanders' All-Star Baseball Game in September and at the First Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet in November, is under consideration to render the Star Spangled Banner at the new Orioles Park at Camden Yards this year?

* Questions from Old Mill parent Toni Sheppard: "Why don't more county high schools have a student sing the National Anthem at basketball games, and why did Old Mill stop the practice?"

* Did you know that Annapolis senior star Lisa Roberts had back-to-back 21-rebound games last week against South River and Southern?

* Isn't it easy to understand why Debbi Dadds of Northeast frequently grabs 20 boards or more a game when you consider that she often puts it up three or four times before finally scoring?

* After learning that referee Ron Mox had asked to work Tuesday's Northeast at North County girls hoop game, why does Calvin Vain of the visiting Eagles want to switch with John Brady and coach the Annapolis boys that night?

"Let's just say that Ron and I don't hit it off," laughed Vain.

* Shouldn't boys basketball officials commissioner Mike Malone be concerned when both sides complain about both zebras after a biggame, such as last Tuesday's South River at Annapolis thriller?

*Why don't the local TV stations give girls basketball scores on their Friday night roundups? Do the girls coaches call them in?

* How about congratulations for former Severna Park Volleyball Player of the Year Stacy Pirotte, who starred at Anne Arundel Community College this fall and has received a scholarship to UMBC?

* Finally, while the start of baseball practice is about a month away, should we make Glen Burnie the county preseason favorite with the return of pro prospect Tony Saunders?

Saunders, a stylish 6-foot-1, 175-pound southpaw, started his high school career at Glen Burnie before moving with his mom to Howard County, but is back living with his dad in Glen Burnie.

Along with returning junior Ed Nalley, who had a great summerwith Bill Nevin's Glen Burnie Patriots, coach Bruce Sider should have the top two lefties in the county.

Saunders pitched during the fall for an Oriolelanders squad led by Orioles' scouting supervisor Jim Gilbert.

"Tony did a great job, and there is a lot of interest in him," said Gilbert.

Arundel is defending State 4A champion, but the Wildcats lost their ace, All-County lefty Zach Collins, who dropped out of school.

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