RHINELANDER - Hockey co-ops keep on getting bigger and bigger all over the state.
That's especially true in girls' hockey.
In the Northwoods, a big merger is being put to the test on the ice.
Northern Edge is getting ready for its first season as a mega co-op.
It went from covering just two schools last year to seven schools this season.
The Rhinelander and Lakeland school boards both voted to merge their schools' respective co-ops.
Head coach Tom Roeser says he thinks the marriage will be permanent.
"The cities down south don't seem to be trying to get out of the co-oping," Roeser said. "They continue to do it. Competitively, northern teams almost have to do it."
The co-op has about 22 skaters suited up this year.
Northern Edge only ended last season with nine players.
The original Rhinelander/Antigo pairing would have had just 10 if the merger didn't happen.
That's not nearly enough for a full set of lines.
But the new team is still taking some getting used to.
"I think it's going well," Antigo senior Alicia Turunen said. "It's a little bit difficult to try to work with new people because we've never played with half the people before, but I think we're getting used to it."
Northern Edge will also have to get used to some long bus rides.
The team will make two trips to the Upper Peninsula and one to Ashwaubenon.
Story By: Andrew Goldstein