(Greg M. Cooper / Globe Photo)
If Mother Nature allows the Needham and Framingham boys' hockey teams to joust on the ice tonight, one side of the arena should be more empty than the other.
Needham High School principal Paul Richards told parents yesterday that students will not be allowed to attend the boys' varsity hockey game against Framingham today because of rowdiness by spectators at a game over the weekend.
In the latest crackdown on bad behavior at area school sports events, Richards said in an e-mail that Needham fans at Saturday's game against Wellesley yelled chants and heckled representatives from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association who were there to observe fans because of an earlier incident.
"Needham's student section chanted, 'Wellesley . . . Wellesley . . . you [suck]' several times," Richards said in an e-mail to parents. "In addition, they chanted, 'Put your clipboards away,' to the MIAA reps who were there to observe our fan behavior."
"Not a good scene, to say the least," Richards wrote.
The Needham boys' hockey team is defending the state Division 1 championship and is 6-0 this year. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association criticized Needham fans last year for poor sportsmanship at varsity hockey games, prompting school officials to add more crowd monitors at games and amend the student handbook.
In his e-mail yesterday, Richards said fans had improved their behavior at recent games, but "unfortunately, we took a step backward at last Saturday's game against Wellesley."
He ordered what essentially is a one-day suspension for students who want to attend boys' hockey games: They are banned from tonight's game in Dedham, though Framingham students can attend. He indicated students will be able to attend the game against Natick on Saturday.
Last night, Needham coach Bill Giusti said the school wants to avoid getting into trouble with the MIAA.
"They're a great group of fans, and occasionally they cross over the line a little bit, but you know, it's high school hockey," he said. "Personally, I don't see them not being able to attend our games. But the people in charge - my athletic director, my principal - are preventing them from attending this game so that maybe it will keep them marching a little more in line so that this doesn't happen again."
Needham isn't the only school in the area to crack down on unruly student behavior at games.
In September, Lincoln-Sudbury's principal required students to bring a guardian to football games after underage drinking was reported at an earlier game.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Emily McCarthy | @EmilyMcCahthy | BPS correspondent
- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
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