The most storied boy's high school hockey program in Bismarck will be combined with another school this coming 2022-23 hockey season.  Numbers have been declining over the last several years in the Bismarck High School boys hockey program as the city continues to grow to the north.

For years, parents and boosters from the Demon hockey program have been asking the Bismarck School Board to redraw the lines in the city to more equally distribute students to the high schools in Bismarck.  That never happened.  Meanwhile, Bismarck High School continues to operate at somewhere between 80 to 85% capacity.

Those kinds of numbers don't translate well for a varsity hockey program when you need to field both a junior varsity and a varsity team.  In fact, last season Bismarck High School only had two goalies for both squads.  This means you are only an injury away from having to put a defenseman or forward in the net.  This happened a couple of times last year for the BHS junior varsity team.

This season the Bismarck High School Boys hockey team will have 40 total skaters to start the season, and that's with the 3 to 7 new players they will receive from the co-op.  The 40 skaters are down significantly from just a few years ago when numbers were in the mid-50s'.

What's even scarier for the future of Bismarck High School hockey?  The Demons have a total of 16 seniors on the team this season.  The numbers would suggest it could be difficult to field both a JV and varsity team next season.

It was announced to both parents and players recently in an email, that Bismarck High will co-op with Bismarck St. Mary's starting this upcoming season.  In years past, St. Mary's students who lived south of Divide Ave had to play for Bismarck High.  Those who lived north of Divide had to play for Century.  The line was Main in Mandan. Not anymore, they will now all have to play hockey for the Demons no matter where they live.  This decision will help the BHS program but not significantly.

Will it be enough to keep the Demons competitive or will more need to be done?  I guess time will tell.



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