Aces hockey skates into shortened season

After the December sports shutdown, boys’ and girls’ ice hockey are off and running. Take a look inside how the Aces are navigating staggered practice days, mask mandates even while on ice, and other unprecedented challenges.

Photo courtesy of Will Treiman ’21

After the twists and turns throughout the past few months regarding school athletics, the boys’ and girls’ ice hockey teams finally took to the ice this past month. When PA Governor Tom Wolf announced a multitude of restrictions on December 10—which included a temporary restriction of extracurricular activities—many were unsure of the trajectory of the winter athletics season. The LM School Board of Directors had finally given the go-ahead for them to commence, only to be cut off shortly thereafter. Now, hockey players on both teams are excited to return to the sport and to make the most of their respective seasons—albeit with many restrictions. 

Will Treiman ’21, the boys’ team captain, has expressed how the sudden shutdown in December caused major challenges for the team, stating, “we only had two practices before our first game this year.” Treiman plays for a club team outside of LM as well, and notes how only half the team is allowed on the ice at any given time, creating staggered practice days. Together, these factors have led to a substantial decrease in time working on skills and creating bonds with teammates—both in and out of practice. He mentions, “it’s hard to build team chemistry when I’m only able to see my teammates once a week.” 

Jada Goonewardene ’21 shares a similar sentiment. She is one of the girls’ team captains, with the other being a senior from Harriton, as the two schools combine forces to create one team. “Our team has been able to hold two masked practices on ice each week: one on our own, and one splitting ice with LM’s boys’ ice hockey team,” she describes. Goonewardene also notes the team’s weekly access to LM’s weight room. 

During these practices and games, there are many more challenges to overcome. Due to COVID-19 protocols, players on both teams are required to wear masks at all times while on the ice. Both captains attest to the increased challenge this presents, with Treiman highlighting that wearing them tires the players out and Goonewardene describing how it affects their vision. Additionally, the girls’ team specifically is fielding a smaller unit than in previous years as a result of the pandemic, both at practices and during games; Goonewardene indicates that “we have learned to adjust accordingly, however games are undeniably more tiring when we are down players.” On the boys’ side, Treiman mentions how team chemistry has also affected his school team, especially with the ability to bond with the new players on the squad. Unfortunately, these are the sacrifices that were necessary in order for their seasons to run as smoothly as possible. 

Despite the setbacks, neither team has faced any cancellations for their games thus far. The boys’ team picked up a 7-5 win against Garnet Valley on January 22, with goalie Juliano Lucca ’23 proving to be a great new addition to the team, making 38 saves on 43 shots. The girls’ team faced West Chester Henderson on January 18, playing a hard-fought game that unfortunately ended in a 10-1 loss. Both teams have shortened seasons—shrinking the number of games from eighteen to twelve—but the boys’ and girls’ ice hockey teams both look to be in great shape to continue their seasons strongly.

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