The Benefits and Challenges of Playing on a Co-Op Team

Griffin White, Associate editor, Design

Playing sports is a great way to stay active, make friends, and learn important life skills like teamwork and perseverance. However, for students at small schools, participating in certain sports can be a challenge due to limited resources and a lack of available players. That’s where co-op teams come in. By partnering with other schools, co-op teams allow students to participate in sports that they might not otherwise be able to, while also providing opportunities to meet new people and form new relationships. There are many benefits of co-op teams for small schools, as well as the unique challenges and opportunities that come with representing two teams instead of one.

By partnering with other schools, co-op teams can offer sports opportunities that might not otherwise be available. For example, a small school such as Greenhills might not have enough players to field a competitive hockey team on its own. However, by joining forces with another school, they can combine their resources to create a team that is capable of competing at a high level. In the past, both Greenhills and Father Gabriel Richard would not have been able to field a competitive team, or even a team at all. This year as a co-op team we were able to break a school record for wins in a season, win the Jilek Cup, win the Metro League, win the Catholic League, win a regional title, and compete for a state title. This not only benefits the players who get to participate in the sport they love, but it also benefits the schools by allowing them to offer a wider range of extracurricular activities to their students.

Another benefit of co-op teams is the opportunity they provide for students to meet people from other schools and form new relationships. When you play on a co-op team, you’re not just representing your own school – you’re also representing the other school that is part of the team. This can be a great way to get to know people who you might not otherwise have the chance to meet. Whether it’s bonding over a shared love of the sport, or just getting to know each other during practices and games, co-op teams offer a unique opportunity to form new friendships and expand your social circle. In my experience playing for the FGR-Greenhills co-op team, I have been able to connect with an amazing group of guys and coaching staff that have helped me to become a better hockey player.

While there are many benefits to playing on a co-op team, there are also some unique challenges that come with representing two schools instead of one. One of the biggest challenges is the feeling of disconnection that can sometimes arise between the team and their respective schools. When most of the fan base is from one school, it can be hard to feel like you’re really representing your own school when you play. However, I’ve found that this feeling of disconnection can be overcome with time and effort. After playing for the team long enough I grew a stronger connection to the team rather than any specific school. This connection transcended any division because every time I stepped on the ice I knew I wasn’t necessarily representing any school or any fanbase, only my team.

By playing on a co-op hockey team throughout the entirety of my high school career I have been very fortunate to experience its many benefits. Without the co-op option, I never would have had the opportunity to play high school hockey or meet some of the best teammates I’ve ever played with.