Amateur Sports: Holy Ghost and the COVID-Infected High School Hockey Season

Holy Ghost Ice Hockey scores to take the lead against Pennsbury in its final game of the season. (Dylan Coyle/TUICE Network)

Holy Ghost Ice Hockey, who play in Bristol, PA, has had an enormous amount of success in recent seasons, from playing in the later rounds of the Flyers Cup – the top Eastern PA high school ice hockey tournament – to winning its league championship. There’s been perhaps no more difficult time for its players and staff until the 2021 year, however.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, the team was not allowed to participate in any activities as Holy Ghost until October 2020, when it could begin to participate in off-ice, outdoor exercises. It wasn’t until early 2021 that it was able to get back on the ice in preparation for its Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference (APAC) schedule in a league consisting of Holy Ghost Prep, St. Joseph’s Prep, Malvern Prep, and La Salle College High School.

Ryan Abramson, the director of admissions for Holy Ghost and the director for its hockey team, has had a unique relationship with the team compared to other school sports. He has taken a direct responsibility for the team’s hockey operations side in conjunction with its coaching staff. 

Two players he formed relationships with are seniors Evan Mudrick and E.J. Pohl. Mudrick and Pohl are good friends and in a season of difficulties, they’ve had to deal with the fact their final high school hockey year will be spent in front of minimal fanfare.

All participants for the team were gearing up to play in the APAC playoffs until a COVID-19 outbreak happened within the school in late March. Holy Ghost had to pull out of the playoffs and shut down team activities in late March, just weeks before the Flyers Cup tournament was due to start. 

Following the completion of a Flyers Cup tournament in which Holy Ghost lost to La Salle in the semifinals, it is still up in the air whether or not the team will compete in a modified version of the APAC playoffs due to number-one-seeded Malvern causing the final to be postponed to an unknown date.

Philadelphia Neighborhoods talked with Abramson, Mudrick, and Pohl to discuss the difficulties of this season and the path forward.

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Editor’s note: Our special reporting on COVID-19 may focus on communities outside Philadelphia because many of our student journalists are now temporarily located outside of the city. Instead, our reporters will cover how the coronavirus is impacting their own communities from across the country and around the world. We will return to hyperlocal coverage of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods as soon as possible.

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