Now the next chapter in the Fayetteville-Manlius ice hockey saga is underway, with no guarantee that it will come close to matching the extremes experienced by Hornets fans a season ago.
What was a strong regular season that was going to culminate in a first-round Section III Division I home playoff game at Cicero Twin Rinks turned, instead, into a stunning ouster when it was found that the Hornets had played one more game than the regular-season maximum of 20 laid out by both the section and New York State Public High School Athletic Association.
So, instead of a serious push for the program’s first-ever sectional title, the Hornets sat out the playoffs, and head coach Sean Brown stepped down.
As that went on, the Central Square program dissolved, and remaining players moved to F-M (they both had home games at the Twin Rinks), as did players from East Syracuse-Minoa and Bishop Grimes.
Josh Becker, who assisted Brown the last two seasons, takes over as head coach, inheriting a roster that includes the players from Central Square, ESM and Grimes, but is missing the likes of Trevor Chase (a first-team All-League selection last winter), Ryan Amidon (second-team selection), Tom Doucet and Matt McDonough, among others.
Also, the Division I leagues were revamped. Instead of East and West division, there’s the American Conference, which includes F-M, five-time defending champion West Genesee, Watertown IHC, Fulton and the Syracuse Cougars. Rome Free Academy, Baldwinsville, Cicero-North Syracuse, Liverpool and Mohawk Valley (formerly Utica Proctor) are in the National Conference.
With everything settled down, F-M went to work last Wednesday night in its season opener against Fulton, managing a 3-3 tie with the Red Raiders.
This game went back and forth all night. Each time one team scored, the other would answer, so it was 1-1 through one period, 2-2 through two periods and even again after an exchange of third-period goals before an overtime period where neither side could win it.