Fairfield co-op to opt out of CIAC hockey tournament

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Fairfield’s high school boys hockey team will be ineligible for the 2022 Division I tournament because of CIAC co-op rules.

FCIAC commissioner and Warde interim athletic director Dave Schulz said the schools’ numbers have surpassed CIAC limits for a co-op; they’ve opted to remain together for the season, pending CIAC approval, but pass on the state tournament.

The Mustangs will be eligible for the FCIAC tournament. The schools will revisit the situation in a year.

The team, which went 8-4-1 last year, will have a new coach as well: Mark Mongillo has been elevated from assistant coach, succeeding Carl Larouche.

Fairfield won CIAC Division II titles in 2013 and 2016. The team has played as a co-op since 2004-05, when the old Fairfield High School split into Warde and Ludlowe. Fairfield had become independent of a co-op with Staples and Weston in 1999-2000.

A handful of co-ops have opted out of the tournament in recent years, sometimes as a prelude to a breakup like New Fairfield/Immaculate (New Fairfield later joined up with Newtown) or sometimes finding that numbers later allowed them to remain together like Suffield/Granby/Windsor Locks.

Another longtime co-op has split: Hall/Southington will separate for the first time since 2008. Former assistant coach Colin O’Connor will coach Hall; Southington posted its coaching job last week