Malvern Prep is approaching the 1920-21 hockey season with a blend of caution and optimism. The Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference will not begin its new season until after the holidays but the Friars, like other scholastic hockey teams in the area, are holding preseason drills.
Unlike most other teams however, Malvern Prep is hoping to get on the ice for some non-league games between now and the end of the year; the Friars are scheduled to go against West Chester Rustin Thursday night at Ice Line.
The three other members of the APAC, Holy Ghost Prep, St. Joseph’s Prep, and two-time defending champion La Salle, are all on the ice but none of the other three have committed to playing a game as of yet.
Malvern Prep coach Bill Keenan has adjusted his practice schedule to try to get his players as much ice time as possible. “We flip flop a little bit between a varsity-only practice, and a JV and varsity combined practice,” he said, “but for the most part, all the guys are (on the ice) twice a week.”
Keenan described how he structures a practice with safety in mind. “When I go into practices, the biggest thing I try to do is implement the drills in a sense to where the kids are constantly moving and not standing in line next to each other,” he said.
““If we do have those drills where guys must stand in a line, I try to form drills so it’s not only one or two lines but a drill that has multiple components where the kids might be in five or six different lines across the ice. So, you’re taking your guys and you’re kind of spreading them and then while they’re in line they can kind of adhere to social distancing. I would say most of the guys are rarely next to each other for more than a minute or two when the drills are kicked off. And by the time they get back in line they’re starting to flow through the drill again. It’s constant movement.”
Malvern Prep’s student body is back on campus and the players are screened a minimum of twice each day.
“They get health screenings before they go on campus in the morning,” Kenan said, “They do one at home and then when they (arrive on campus) they do another one; there are color coded wristbands and they’re not allowed to come to practice without a wristband.”
The players are not forbidden to utilize the locker room facilities at Ice Line prior to or following practices.