Night shift: Girls ice hockey forced to play late games

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By Michael Tierney, Business Manager

The air is frigid, it is 11  p.m. on a school night, and the sound of skates crashing into the ice fills the atmosphere. The girls’ ice hockey team is dueling it out on the rink as the puck glides across the ice. 

This is what a typical game day looks like for the team. Due to the lack of ice rinks in the area and open time slots, the girls end up playing at extremely late hours.

The girls’ ice hockey team is 8-8 so far this season and only has a few more games left before playoffs. They practice and play their home games at Ice Line in West Chester which is about a 25-minute drive from Conestoga. Practice is from 4 to 5 p.m. after school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the majority of their games are at 9:30 p.m. or later, some falling on school nights. This is troubling for some of the girls because it affects their sleep schedule and ability to perform in school the following day. 

Freshman Clare Malik, who plays forward and defense, finds the situation to be problematic. 

“Trying to get earlier times would be very difficult because there are many schools and hockey clubs that need ice time just as much as we do,” Malik said. 

Sophomore Monica Latorraca also expresses concerns over the late-night games, but knows that the timing will likely not change. 

“Games are very late, most start at 9:45 or 8:00, but there isn’t much we can do to get earlier times because there are only a few rinks nearby, so time slots get booked very quickly. We have tried to get earlier times but just haven’t been able to, which is understandable,” Latorraca said. 

After their late games, players typically get back home around 11:30 p.m. or later. This can be especially taxing on the girls, as they lose valuable hours of sleep. 

“It definitely affects my sleep schedule because when I get home, I still have to get ready for bed and finish up my homework,” Latorraca said. “During the day, I sometimes fall asleep in class.”

Although it would be easier on the girls to have earlier games, most of the latest games fall on Fridays, so they do not impact senior Olivia Oropesa’s sleep schedule significantly. 

“I don’t think hockey affects my sleep schedule because later games are normally on Friday nights,” Oropesa said. “But on occasion, there are Monday or Thursday night late games that do impact my sleep schedule and make it harder for me to focus in school.” 

Despite the games’ impact on the girls, sophomore Eva Stagnaro believes they still come with positives. 

“Some things that are fun about late games are the team dinners beforehand and driving there with upperclassmen,” Stagnaro said. “Even though I am super tired by gametime, the bright lights in the rink wake me up. It also gives me the opportunity to nap before the games right after school.”


Michael Tierney can be reached at [email protected]