Neither of those schools has a girls hockey team, but both are interested, he said.
“We need at least 20 kids to field a good team,” O’Brien said. “We think we would get there on our own eventually, but at first we’d probably do a partnership.”
There’s not quite as much interest in rowing, but O’Brien said he’s confident a crew program could succeed at Haverhill High.
“Lots of similar schools have successful rowing programs, especially Lowell High, which has about 100 kids in its program,” O’Brien said. “I think we might get some kids who don’t play a sport to show some interest because it’s unique. Any level of athlete can try it.”
“The first year is always rough in a new sport,” she said. “But I’m confident it would build popularity fast.”
To start a rowing program at the high school, O’Brien said he needs to find a coach, a place to launch and store the boats, and about $80,000.
“I think we could find a coach fairly easily because there are several clubs in area,” O’Brien said. “Funding is the key to whether we’ll be ready next year. We’re going to put the word out and see what the interest is, then maybe do some fundraising and see if we can get some donations to get it going.”
Lawler suggested Crescent Yacht Club on the Bradford side of the Merrimack River would be the perfect location for a boat launch. She said Haverhill could buy used boats and equipment from colleges and clubs in the area. She researched many of the details for her report.
O’Brien stressed planning for both a rowing and girls ice hockey team are in the preliminary stages, but that it’s possible both could be offered as soon as next year.