As COVID-19 cases continually rose throughout the state of Pennsylvania and classes were forced to go virtual for two weeks, the winter sports season was in jeopardy. It was unclear whether or not athletes would be safe enough to compete.
However, on January 7, Director of Athletics Mr. Murphy sent an email confirming that the Inter-Ac league decided to start an abbreviated winter season. Among the list of sports in the email, ice hockey was missing. After careful mediation and discussion among coaches and medical experts, the ice hockey season was cancelled.
There were a number of complicating factors that led to the cancellation of the ice hockey season. First of all, the Inter-Ac league decided not to hold league games this winter. Additionally, the Fords do not have their own rink, and with rink access particularly tight, holding practices and out-of-league matches would be tough to fit into the abbreviated winter season.
“It all conspired into leaving us with no real option other than to cancel the season,” Head Coach Dr. Goduti said.
“As a senior, it’s obviously very tough.” said Sixth Form captain Mike Tallarida.
Going into the season, the Fords looked promising. With a combination of new players and old blood, Sixth Form captains Magnus Weissenberger and Mike Tallarida were looking to end on a high note.
“We had a group of freshmen who were very good in eighth grade and were going to be a big part of our team this year,” Tallarida said. “[The captains] wanted to serve as leaders and build up the program for future generations.”
“Few seniors left our team, while many seniors from other schools graduated, so we were in a good place to win the league,” Weissenberger said.
“From the camaraderie to the team’s gradual improvement, I have enjoyed every second of it.”Manus Weissenberger ’21
For the younger players, this year is simply a setback. There will be plenty of time for them to improve their game outside of school and come back stronger next year. And while it is extremely disappointing for the seniors that they won’t have the opportunity to compete one last time, this year’s circumstances do not take away from the rest of their accomplishments with the Fords hockey team.
“They’ve been part of something incredible during their career at Haverford, and this doesn’t take away from that,” Dr. Goduti said.
Tallarida said, “Although I am bummed I can’t finish out my final year, I am appreciative of the impact hockey has had on my life.”
Weissenberger reflected, “From the camaraderie to the team’s gradual improvement, I have enjoyed every second of it.”