March 12, 1981

Scholastic hockey finally will get a legitimate state championship. The breakthrough, accomplished after a year of negotiations, came yesterday. The Flyers announced they will sponsor a state championship, named the Pennsylvania Cup, pitting the winner of the Flyers Cup (the Southeastern Pennsylvania champion) against the winner of ongoing playoffs among three, previously warring, Western Pennsylvania Leagues.

The game will be played at 7:30pm, Sunday, March 29, at Penn’s Class of 1923 Rink. Next year’s Pennsylvania Cup will be played at a Western Pennsylvania location and the one-game championship will alternate between east and west in future years. The Flyers Cup opens Monday at the Penn rink with a somewhat different format from last year. The championship still involves the top two teams from the Inter-County League (defending champion Archbishop Carroll and Haverford High), the league champion of the Suburban League (Germantown Academy) and the champion of the Lower Bucks County League (either Bishop Egan or Father Judge. But the Cup will now conduct a complete round robin as its preliminary round, with doubleheaders Monday, Tuesday and Monday, March 23. The Flyers Cup championship will match the two top point getters from the round robin in a one-game final on March 25 at 8:15pm for the final.

The teams involved in the western playoffs are Erie Cathedral Prep and Erie McDowell from the Erie County League, Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park and Baldwin from the South Hills League; Pittsburgh North Catholic, Kittaning and Churchhill from the West Penn League. But the Flyers Cup remains the centerpiece of local scholastic hockey. “This is really what we’ve been shooting for,” said GA captain, Tim Hale. “Most of us have overlooked the playoffs in the league. Tuesday night (beating William Tennent for the Suburban League championship) wasn’t that big a deal, except that we are in the Flyers Cup.”

GA is a co-favorite, along with Carroll. Haverford (which meets Carroll tomorrow in the second game of the Inter-County finals) and Egan have been overshadowed by the two dominant powers. “We’re looking for more fan support,” said Haverford’s all-area goaltender Chris Cifone. “We don’t really get much support from the school, and most of us players could use some individual recognition. We hope we can get that in the Cup.” Egan, from the lightly regarded Lower Bucks League, is carrying the puck for an entire area. “What I’ve told the players,” said coach Larry Clay, is that everybody things a lot less of us than the others. All I want is a good effort and I think our team will hustle with anyone.

Pat Quinn and the Flyers staff will conduct a clinic for youth hockey coaches tomorrow night at 7pm at Stouffer’s Valley Forget Hotel. The Clinic will be open to coaches, club administrators, officials, players, parents and anyone who has an interest in club hockey. Flyers assistant Bob Boucher and head trainer Norm Mackie will also appear. The fee is $10.

CREDIT: The Philadelphia Inquirer