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High School Ice Hockey:
Final Thoughts and Comments

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

By Mike Costantino
SJSports Staff Writer

Looking back over this past season of high school ice hockey, we have had a lot that has happened. South Jersey Sports Online has covered a lot of good games through out the season and will continue to do so with the support of the coaches, players, fans, officials and sponsors. With the season completely at an end, there are some final thoughts and a few comments that have to be addressed.

The top five teams all had good seasons with Eastern going undefeated and winning their second consecutive title. Clearview finishing strong and claiming second place, Township returning to a full schedule and finishing one point behind Clearview. Rancocas rebounding from a dismal last season to finish 12-3-3 and Cherokee under new Coach Steve Rumbos suffering the tragic loss of Jeff Burd and having an emotional run into the finals.

Some teams that finished in the middle of the pack, Paul VI, return a strong nucleus next year but will miss the leadership of Antinore and DeGennaro. Williamstown should be a force as they return most of this years varsity team. Timber Creek also has a strong nucleus coming back and in only its third year of existence should be competitive again. Township might be the favorite next year as they also return a solid nucleus and could benefit from a possible transfer. Cherry Hill East, while struggling during the regular season, had a great run in the playoffs including upsetting Township.

Some suggestions for next year would be to have more rival games, like Township vs. Clearview, Eastern vs. Cherokee and Williamstown vs. Timber Creek. No JV title games, isn’t JV a training ground for the varsity level? This year the league eliminated the Tier II title game, its time to re-visit the JV.

Officiating, stop complaining about the referees. After witnessing the abomination in the Flyers Cup games, South Jersey fans and coaches should keep quiet and appreciate what we have and be thankful you don’t have to endure the Pennsylvania officials. In addition, speaking of the Flyers Cup, I was fortunate to be one of the members of the selection committee and other than Matt Sacks, Breakaway Magazine’s top photographer and man about Pa. Hockey; we were the only two non-presidents on the committee. Lower Bucks president Bob Kelbacher and South Jersey president Mike Pontonio should be commended for not participating in the selection process. Other presidents for the most part tried to remain as impartial as possible, with one exception. The Suburban Hockey League president had his own agenda and was definitely sandbagging certain teams. Somewhere along the line, it became about his league and where he wanted them to go. I hope that next year more independent but knowledgeable people will be asked to participate. Enjoy the off-season…

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