More Reflections from the APAC Outdoor Classic

The Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference, its member schools, and fans, are basking in the glow of Wednesday’s APAC Outdoor Classic at the Spring Mountain resort

  APAC Commissioner Jim Britt was lavish in his praise for the inaugural Classic.

“It’s idyllic,” he said. “I am very impressed by what they’ve done here to develop this into an adventure; an outdoor classic. The amenities are set up, it’s easy to watch a game, the lighting is great. 

“The students are reacting tremendously. Everybody is having a great time and we really appreciate what they’ve done here to develop this and four teams being here for the APAC Outdoor Classic is something special to see.”

The results of the games mattered of course. La Salle bested St. Joseph’s Prep 5-1 in the back end of the twin bill but senior Tim Whitlock pointed out he and his teammates’ most vivid memories will be of the Classic itself.

‘The guys are excited,” he said Wednesday night. “It was a different type of game, kind of. It was a good game.

Whittock said the energy of the fans on hand added to the experience.

“Definitely a little more,” he said. “But, by the end of the day, it doesn’t matter about the people on the sidelines. It matters about the boys on the ice.”


Malvern Prep in white ands Holy Ghost Prep line up for the National Anthem on Wednesday. (Max Mangigian)

Holy Ghost Prep senior and captain Brady Baehser helped his team to a 6-5 win over Malvern Prep to open the evening’s festivities.

“This is an experience we’re going to remember for the rest of our lives,” he said. 

Baehser noted that the conditions mandated the players make some adjustments.

“When we first got out there we were having trouble seeing the puck he said “and trouble with the lighting. But it’s the same for everyone so you get used to it and you play the game.”

Baehser was asked for his most vivid memory of the evening.

“Honestly when you first step on the ice,” he said. “You look around, and it’s a beautiful atmosphere.”

La Salle’s Ryan Wiley carries the puck Wednesday night. #33 for St. Joseph’s Prep is Dante Pasio (Max Mangigian)

St. Joseph’s Prep’s Tyler DiGirolamo moves the puck. (Max Mangigian)

Holy Ghost Prep’s Kieran Mulholland (in blue) is challenged by Malvern Prep’s Jack Sharer (Max Mangigian)

The Road Ahead

The path to the start of the hockey season has been difficult to navigate to stay the least. But all interested parties now parties now have a road map that shows a route all the way to the end of the season.

The Inter County Scholastic Hockey League (ICSHL) launched its 2021 campaign last Friday and the Suburban High School Hockey League is kicking off its season this week.

Meantime, the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference (APAC) remains on hold, on deference to the Covid-19 restrictions which are still in place in the City of Philadelphia and have mandated the closing of ice rinks, specifically the Class of 1923 rink at the University of Pennsylvania and the Flyers Skatezonein Northeast Philadelphia.Those restrictions are scheduled to be lifted this Friday, January 15.

APAC Commissioner Jim Britt said the conference is aiming at a February 1 start date. “The teams are making the final tweaks for APAC games and crossovers against selected ICSHL Class AAA teams,” he said.”

Britt praised the coaches and school administrators at the four APAC schools for their efforts to bring the 2021 season to fruition.

““Everyone was disappointed last March when the 2020 Flyers Cup was paused & eventually cancelled,” he said. “The APAC coaching staffs & administrators have been working hard to provide the best & safest 2021 experience possible, being creative & flexible as we navigate the challenges. We’re all looking forward to getting back on the ice.” 

As for the 2021 Flyers Cup tournament, Flyers Cup Committee President Eric Tye indicated that the field for this year’s tournament will be announced on Sunday, March 28. The tournament is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 5 and conclude on Thursday, April 15.

Those dates are subject to change if the season is interrupted because of Covid issues or some other cause.

The state championship games are scheduled for Saturday, April 24 in Pittsburgh.

APAC Eyeing Mid-January Start

 The Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference has formulated plans to begin its 2021 season the week of January 11. 

According to APAC Commissioner Jim Britt, the schedule now under consideration would see the four conference schools, La Salle, Malvern Prep, St. Joseph’s Prep and Holy Ghost Prep play a 10-game regular season schedule that would see each team face each of the others three times while also playing one additional game against a Class AAA team from the Intercounty Scholastic Hockey League (Cardinal O’Hara, Father Judge, and Roman Catholic would be among the possibilities).

That 10thgame is important because as of now, teams are required to play 10 league games to be eligible to compete in the Flyers Cup tournament this coming spring.

The four APAC schools have been off the ice in the wake of Governor Tom Wolf’s executive order that closed indoor recreational facilities around the state, including ice rinks, effective December 12. They will remain closed until January 4.

Prior to the shutdown, Malvern Prep played and won two non-league games but the other three league schools have yet to play a game this season.

Britt is hoping that APAC teams will be able to get back on the ice for practice on or shortly after January 4. He acknowledged that that may not happen.

“At this time, there is no guarantee that the pause will be lifted at that time,” he said, “potentially causing delays to the planned restart of practices and the regular season.  Player safety, with a reasonable amount of practices before starting the regular season, is an important consideration.”

Britt said the goal is to conclude the APAC regular season by mid-March with the league playoffs, prior to the start of the Flyers Cup tournament on April 5. The tournament is scheduled to conclude on April 20.

 Hun School to Join APAC

Britt also announced that The Hun School will become the fifth member of the APAC beginning with the 2021-22 season. The school’s membership application was unanimously approved by the four current conference members but due to Covid restrictions in place in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the school has suspended its winter sports programs for the current school year. Hun School has competed against APAC schools in non-league games in the past.

APAC Considering Options for 2021

As the Stanley Cup playoffs continue, the members of the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference are studying their options for the 2020-21 hockey season. Members of the hockey-only conference, which features La Salle, St. Joseph’s Prep, Malvern Prep, and Holy Ghost Prep, have been working to determine if, when how to go forward in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ice hockey is a varsity sport at all four institutions.

“The APAC schools & staff have been monitoring the situation closely since the spring,” said APAC Commissioner Jim Britt. “We are continuing to discuss our scheduling options, primarily through Zoom calls through the summer & now in the fall. No firm decisions as yet, but we have several plans in development as the scholastic environment becomes clearer over the next few weeks.

“The APAC schools typically begin their hockey season in November, so we are continuing to monitor and consider the guidance provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

The four schools are expected to meet virtually at the end of this month to evaluate the situation.

La Salle won the first APAC titles as well as the 2019 Class AAA Flyers Cup and Pennsylvania state titles. Last year’s Flyers Cup tournament was abanndoned on March 12 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference Making Its Mark

The Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference has completed exactly two thirds of his inaugural season. LaSalle, Malvern Prep, Holy Ghost Prep, and St. Joseph’s Prep each have three conference games remaining, one each against each other.

APAC Commissioner Jim Britt expressed satisfaction with how the league has evolved. “It is a great start to what we hope is an ever-expanding and developing environment,” he said. “The kids are reacting well because of the support that the institutions, the school administrations, the high-quality coaching staffs that are involved.

“The kids are reacting and progressing as we’d hoped. It is a great environment to develop the students both through hockey and through the academic environment and it’s an exciting time for those programs. I’ve been very pleased with how well teams have been playing, the pace of the games, the skill quality, the fact that people are focused on playing the game right. You strip away some of the stuff that has marred (high-school hockey) in the past and it makes it a great experience for everyone involved. They’re very happy with it.”

Britt notes that a strong conference with a membership of schools committed to hockey is a major step forward for the sport.

“I think it’s important,” he said. I have been involved with high school hockey for over 20 years in a lot of different capacities. I have some very close friends who have given heart and soul, blood sweat and tears, to develop strong programs. I think what we’re doing here with the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference is the next step.

“I know coaches in various programs that are doing a bangup job in the Suburban League and the Intercounty League and (the APAC) takes it to the next step, it takes it to the next level of commitment by the institutions. And that’s important. It’s important at every level of these students’ development, that all of the adults are on the same page, all the adults are pulling for the right things, are trying to do the right things.”

In addition to facing each other three times each, the four APAC schools are all playing a group of four New Jersey institutions; Gloucester Catholic, St. Augustine, Princeton Day School, and the Hun School. Could the APAC expand?

Britt says the member schools are cautiously in that regard. “The approach is to basically take it one step at a time,” he said. The idea is to make sure that we’re doing it not just for the right way, but for the right reasons and that we don’t missing anything. That we’re not forgetting anything because of the way that we are structuring this.

“Having said that, we have had some discussions about the possibility of having other programs joining the conference.”

Batting weather complications, the SHSHL will conclude its league season on February 12. Playoff dates have yet to be announced.”


Wednesday January 30 Malvern Prep vs Holy Ghost Prep 7:00 at Wells Fargo Center

Friday, February 1  St. Joseph’s Prep at LaSalle   5:00 at Hatfield

Wednesday, February 6 Malvern Prep at Lasalle 4:00 at Hatfield

Holy Ghost Prep at St. Joseph’s Prep 4:30 at Class of 1923 Rink

Monday, February 11 LaSalle at Holy Ghost Prep 4:00 at Grundy

Tuesday, February 12 St. Joseph’s Prep at Malvern Prep, 3:55 at Ice Line

The most significant stretch of the high-school hockey season is straight ahead. The Suburban High School Hockey League and the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference are in the final weeks of the regular season.

Following that; the league playoffs  and the 40th Flyers Cup tournament. We’ll be following all the action here at Hockey Happenings and here’s your opportunity to be part of it all.

Contact us to promote your product or service here at Hockey Happenings right through the Flyers Cup and the Pennsylvania state championship.

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New PA Prep Hockey League Forming

Some of the most prominent scholastic ice hockey programs in the Philadelphia area are aligning to form a new conference.

Holy Ghost Prep, LaSalle, St. Joseph’s Prep, and Malvern Prep will compete against one another this coming season.

The four schools are in different leagues in other sports. Holy Ghost Prep belongs to the Bicentennial Athletic League, St. Joseph’s Prep and LaSalle to the Philadelphia Catholic League, and Malvern Prep to the InterAc League.

The four schools will play each other three times each over the course of the season. A source told Hockey Happenings that plans call for each team to play six of its nine conference games in the afternoon, the other three at night. The regular season will be followed by a pair of one-game semifinals and a one-game final.

The idea behind the new league was to form a conference composed entirely of schools where ice hockey is considered a full-fledged varsity sport. Veteran Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside notes that all four member schools fit hockey into their athletic and academic structures.

“I think that stems from the leadership at these schools,” he said.
All four schools involved in the alliance have longstanding hockey traditions. LaSalle has won 10 Flyers Cup titles, nine in Class 3A and one in Class 2A. Malvern Prep has won seven Cups, all in Class 3A. Holy Ghost Prep has won three Class 3A Flyers Cup titles to go with one in Class 2A while St. Joseph’s Prep claimed its first Flyers Cup title when it won the Class 3A title this past March.

The four schools will remain part of the Flyers Cup structure where will compete in Class 3A but will not be aligned with the Suburban High School Hockey League or the Intercounty Scholastic Hockey League. for scheduling purposes

Jim Britt, who has had a long association with amateur hockey, will serve as commissioner of what is expected to be known as the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference.