Most high school teams that play use school-owned
facilities, whether it be the girls' basketball team using the gym or
the boys' soccer team scrimmaging on the outdoor athletic fields. Unlike
other sports, ice hockey uses off-campus facilities. Bishop Eustace
practices and plays its home games at the Flyers Skate Zone in
Pennsauken, a mere trip to the other side of town. But for St.
Augustine, located in Richland sometimes just making practice can be a
trip on its own. The Hermits practice and play at the Hollydell Ice
Arena in Washington Township. Not your average Sunday Drive. Especially
for some of the younger players.
"We have kids that live in Swedesboro and Mantua
that drive all over the place," St. Augustine coach Greg Conicello said.
"From driving to school then to the rink for practice then back home. It
can be tough.'
"A lot of the older players that can drive usually
carpool the others. And when we have away games, the parents usually do
the same thing."
It's much of the same for the Bishop Eustace
"We have a bus that takes the kids to the rink for
practice and back to school,' coach Mike Green said. "But when we have
games, there's no bus that returns to the school."
As difficult as it may seem, the amount of practice
is not usually enough in preparation for the season. St. Augustine
practices twice a week, only usually for about an hour. The same goes
for Eustace. Sometimes, there is more time spent traveling to and from
than actual ice time.
Despite the travel, the players, coaches, and the
parents are committed to play.
Chris Panter covers ice hockey for the