Holy Ghost Prep Headed North

 It’s a trip that has become a tradition in the Holy Ghost Prep hockey program, one that offers a plethora of benefits, on and off the ice. The Firebirds are in Jamestown N.Y. this weekend for the National Scholastic Invitational.

The tournament brings together some of the finest scholastic hockey programs in America while at the same time allowing the players to spend quality time together off the ice.

Senior Brian Butler is making the trip for the second time.

“It’s really just having the house and all the guys hanging around together,” he said. “And then, just remembering that we’re there to win the tournament; that’s really the bottom line.”

Butler says the time spent together off the ice helps the players get to know each other as people, particularly their younger teammates.

“Definitely, we have the core group of guys that I play club with,” he said, “but, with the newer guys this year, especially the two freshmen, the trip just means everything. It’s really important just to get to know everybody, and just bond to the team, and I think that can only help us, especially going into the playoffs.”

Butler says the upperclassmen on the roster take on the responsibility of assisting the newcomers.

“It’s really our job to make sure the underclassmen feel comfortable,” he said, “and I just remember my first time in Jamestown (two years ago), the seniors did a great job. That’s what we’re going to try and do here.”

Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside is taking a team to Jamestown for the 13th time.

“We use it as a team builder,” he said. “A chance to get away from school. Just be by ourselves, eat together, play games together, just get to know one another away from the rink a little bit.”

Whiteside emphasizes the importance of the seniors’ role on the trip. “The seniors that are going way with us have obviously experienced this tournament,” he said, “and played a major part in the tournament, and they play a major part in the success of our team.

“The underclassmen really look up to them for guidance and support, I’ve always said our leadership group is an extension of our coaching staff and I think this year with Luke (Pappareso)  Brian, and Sean (Marshall), I think it’s quite evident that they’re truly the leaders of the team and kind of set the tone.”

The Firebirds were scheduled to open tournament play Friday evening at 6:15 against DeMatha (Md.) before playing two more games on Saturday against Medina and Cathedral Prep. Sunday’s schedule if any will depend on the results of those games.

Jeff Mauro has written a book on the history of the Pennsylvania state high school hockey championship. To find out more and order a copy CLICK HERE

Hockey Happenings is looking for reliable individuals to provide video clips of APAC games. If you’re interested or would like more information, please contact us at rwoelfel2103@gmail.com

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