Razor sharp blades cutting across smooth ice, pucks hitting sticks and bodies hitting boards - these are the sounds that can be heard every night at the Porrazzo hockey rink in East Boston, home of the newly merged Pope John/Malden High School hockey team.
Malden High has not has its own independent hockey team in quite some time. Previously, MHS had a co-op agreement with the Northeast Regional Vocational Technical High School. This year, Pope John agreed to merge with Malden High School and cover all financial costs.
Due to some complications regarding paperwork and medical forms, the Malden/Pope John hockey season was temporarily postponed. As of Jan 2, the Tigers are back on the ice. The nine member team consists of two Pope John students and seven Malden High students.
Even though the Malden/Pope John Tigers have yet to come off the ice with a win, they are improving with every game. They had very little time to get ready for the season but have done extremely well considering most of the players have never played together before this year.
With only eight skaters, the Tigers are playing full 45 minute games with less than two full lines, leaving some players on the ice for more than five minutes at a time. The Tigers were originally facing a season without a goalie until a Malden High sophomore stepped up to the challenge. As a first time goal tender, he has been improving substantially and saving nearly 80 percent of the shots faced on net.
Despite the disadvantages that the Tigers have been facing, they have managed to improve their passing, skating and overall - playing together as a team - all without the support of the MHS administration.
The bleachers are full of spectators - including students, parents, siblings and members of the Pope John athletic department. Even though the Tigers wear Pope John colors, 77 percent of the team is made up of Malden High School students and the MHS administration and faculty members should be supporting their student athletes.
These athletes put in just as much effort as the MHS basketball, swimming, track and wrestling teams but receive minimal support. Go to a MHS basketball game and you will see dozens of faculty and staff cheering on and supporting the Golden Tornados. It is not fair to the members of the Malden/ Pope John hockey team to practice every day and play their hearts out with less than a full team of skaters and not receive an ounce of support.
The MHS administration should be at the hockey rink cheering on their players like they do at every other MHS teams’ game.
A final note to the MHS faculty and administration: You don’t have to wear the Pope John colors - come down to the rink wearing your blue and gold and show your student athletes that you admire and appreciate their tireless efforts on the ice. Give them something to play for. Show them, that no matter what colors are on your jersey, you are a Golden Tornado at heart.