Counting Down to the Debut of the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference

A new era is dawning in Philadelphia-area scholastic hockey as the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference prepares to open its 20-18-19 season.

The new league features four schools, St. Joseph’s Prep, Holy Ghost Prep, LaSalle, and Malvern Prep, all with rich hockey traditions. Collectively, they have won 23 Flyers Cups, 21 of them in Class 3A, including the last eight, 11 of the last 12, and 16 of the last 18.

The caliber of hockey in the new league promises to be superb.  David Giacomin, the head coach at St. Joseph’s Prep, the defending Flyers Cup champion, says the four schools were looking to go against good competition on a regular basis.

“I think the big thing for all four of the schools was, we wanted to play in league where it was very competitive for everybody,” he said. “We wanted to compete against a stronger schedule. We’ll play each other three times apiece plus the (non-league game), we formed an agreement with the schools in South Jersey to play them so we’re playing the same type of teams to make this a very even playing field, but it’s giving the best competition that we could possibly find in the area on a consistent basis.”

The foundation the APAC runs much deeper however. Hockey at each of the member schools is a full-fledged varsity sport and the administrations at all four institutions are committed to fitting their respective hockey programs into their school’s educational philosophy.

“it’s run through the school,’ Giacomin said. “Everything goes through them, we have the full support of the Prep community and the full backing of the entire school. So, it’s super important. It doesn’t really mean that much for hockey itself, but it means more for the kids, to be able to turn around and say ‘I play for my school’ and it is a sponsored school sport where you’re getting the full backing of your community. That means the most to them.”

The majority of the league schedule will be played in the afternoon, which Giacomin believes will stimulate student attendance at the games.

“Looking at the way we’re doing it now, if we’re able to bring kids right from the school, immediately after school and starting the game at four o’ clock, that frees them up to do all their studies in the evening,” he said. “So, we’re hoping this format is going to work to our advantage and to be able to bring a lot of the student body in.”
Holy Ghost Prep and LaSalle will play the first APAC league game in history, Friday, November 2 at 7:30 at Grundy Arena.

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