March 24, 1985
Competition in the 1986 Flyers Cup begins tonight at the Skatium in Havertown, and players and officials are brimming with excitement. “Playing in the Flyers Cup is something that every high school hockey player in the area dreams about,” said Flyers Cup chairman Joe Moderski. “The Flyers Cup has continued to grow, both in prestige and attendance, every year since it began. This year’s cup should be bigger and better than ever.” This year’s Flyers Cup competition will definitely be bigger. There will be more teams and more games than in any of the previous cups. Last year, there were four participants in the Flyers Cup the champions of the four southeastern Pennsylvania scholastic hockey leagues. This year, there will be six teams fighting for the cup The teams will be split into two divisions, the Orange and the Black and each division will feature an opening round of round-robin play.
In the Black Division, the three teams are: Pennsbury (Lower Bucks Scholastic Hockey League), Cheltenham (Suburban High School Hockey League), and Archbishop Wood (Northern Scholastic Hockey League). This year’s cup will mark the first appearance for each of the three schools. Also, it will be the first time a team from the Northern Scholastic Hockey League will compete; this is the league’s inaugural season. The Orange Division will include Conestoga (Inter-County Scholastic Hockey League), Malvern Prep (Eastern High School Hockey League) and William Penn (New Castle County [Del.] High School Hockey League). Of the three teams in the Orange Division, only Conestoga has been to the cup before. The William Penn team has been league champion for the last several years, but this season is the first time the league from the Diamond State has been extended an invitation to play in the Flyers Cup. Cheltenham fought its way into this year’s Flyers Cup by upending Cherry Hill East, last year’s Flyers Cup champion, two games to one in the SHSHL championship series. The Panthers won the third and deciding game last Thursday, 4-2. Pennsbury, which is now 16-2-2, earned its berth in the Cup competition by capturing the regular-season title in the LBSHL. The Falcons also took first in the league’s postseason tourney. Archbishop Wood became the first championship squad in the fledgling NSHL, a league that is a spinoff from the SHSHL. William Penn will arrive as an unknown quantity with a 10-1-1 record. The Colonials play in a small four-team league along with Newark, Dickinson and St. Mark’s.
The two odds-on favorites in this year’s Flyers Cup are Conestoga and Malvern Prep. The Malvern Prep Friars earned their invitation to the Cup by sweeping the best-of-three EHSHL final series from the defending champion, Haverford High. The second and deciding game of that series was played last Monday night at the Skatium, and the Friars cruised to a 6-1 win. “We just tore ’em up,” said Malvern Prep coach Tom Egan, referring to his team’s championship series opponents. “We took ’em apart brick by brick. Our kids wanted this championship. Before the game, they were very quiet and intense, and then they went out and did what they were capable of.” Conestoga also swept its final series, taking three straight games from archrival West Chester. The third game of the series was played last Tuesday night at the Upper Merion YMCA Rink, and Conestoga rolled over West Chester, 8-2. To- night will mark Conestoga’s fourth straight year of competing in the Flyers Cup.
Tonight’s opening game at 7:30 p.m. pits Malvern Prep against Conestoga, while Cheltenham faces off against Pennsbury in the 9 p.m. nightcap. Tomorrow evening, Malvern plays William Penn in the first game and Pennsbury meets Wood in the second. Wednesday’s games feature a Conestoga-William Penn match-up in the early game and Cheltenham Wood in the late game. The semifinals will be held on March 31 and April 2, and the championship game is set for April 3. Face off for all three games is listed at 7:30 p.m. The Skatium will be the location of all nine Flyers Cup games.
CREDIT: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Denny Dyroff – Special to the Inquirer