A Haverhill family has accomplished something rare. It has sued the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) … and won.
Evan Foskett, of Haverhill, has received a temporary order to play varsity hockey for Malden Catholic this shortened winter season, after Haverhill High did not sign his transfer papers. His family had three unsuccessful hearings with the MIAA over the past two months.
On Friday, an Essex County Superior Court judge granted relief to Evan, a junior, allowing him to play in Malden Catholic’s scheduled opener on Wednesday. He has been practicing with the team all along.
At issue was Haverhill High’s belief that Foskett was recruited by Malden Catholic, which their coach, athletic director and the Foskett family denied.
Jim Foskett said all along his son wanted and needed to be pushed more academically and socially, which meant attending school in person. He also wanted to continue playing hockey at a higher level.
Jim said the fact that Haverhill High students have spent very little time with in-school learning was tantamount, not simply the opportunity to play hockey at a traditional state powerhouse program.
“It’s been a difficult time for Evan, changing schools and being put into a different environment is tough for any teen,” said Jim. “But to have this situation hanging over his head for three-plus months, when he didn’t do anything wrong, was stressful for him.”
Once Haverhill High didn’t sign the transfer — Form 200, which must be signed off by both schools — the Foskett family tried three different appeals with the MIAA.
Jim said the family was floored back in October when Haverhill High athletic director Tom O’Brien didn’t sign Form 200, which Malden Catholic athletic director Bill Raycraft had initiated and signed.
O’Brien, who was unavailable for comment, and Haverhill High didn’t agree to the transfer because they felt Evan was recruited by Malden Catholic coach Chris Kuchar, a Haverhill High graduate and former assistant hockey coach at the school and head coach at Andover High.
“That’s false,” said Jim Foskett. “My son played for coach Kuchar two summers ago in a tournament. He had a great experience. But this was totally our family’s decision, particularly Evan’s. He was never recruited by anybody.”
Evan was among The Eagle-Tribune area’s scoring leaders with 16 goals as a sophomore last year.
The Foskett’s lawyer, Atty. Leo Fama of Everett, Mass., argued that the MIAA never showed proof that Evan was recruited throughout the entire process.
“It’s too bad it had to come to this,” said Jim Foskett. “It is satisfying to know the judge felt there were issues here that needed to be corrected with the MIAA’s process, especially in times of COVID-19 where these kids should be getting more opportunities, not opportunities taken away from them.”
Bill Burt is executive sports editor of The Eagle-Tribune. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.