Best on the Shoreline!
It's time to nominate your favorites for the 2021 Best on the Shoreline Awards!
The Guilford boys’ ice hockey team received some unfortunate news on Feb. 14, when a number of players and coaches on the squad were contacted by the Connecticut Department of Health regarding their possible exposure to COVID-19. As a result, the Grizzlies will be forced to quarantine until Tuesday, Feb. 23, thereby postponing the team’s first few games of the 2021 winter season. The earliest that Guilford will able to resume skating is on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Head Coach Ralph Russo said that everyone on his team was disappointed by the news. However, Russo and his players knew that this was a situation that could possibly occur based on the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Stepping back from skating so close to our first game is tough and unfortunate,” said Russo. “We always talk about how facing and handling adversity is a life skill we can learn from athletics. This situation certainly falls in that category. It’s tough, because the players have been working really hard at practice and with the safety protocols we expect of them. Everyone was doing what was asked of them when this happened.”
Guilford was scheduled to play North Branford in its first game of the season on Feb. 15. However, with Guilford’s players now in quarantine, that contest has been postponed, as has the Grizzlies’ game against Amity that had originally been slated for Saturday, Feb. 20. Guilford is tentatively scheduled to play Sheehan on Feb. 24, although there’s no guarantee that game will be played, since the Grizzlies will have spent 10 days away from the ice by that time.
Despite this setback, Coach Russo credited his players for staying optimistic during a tumultuous time. Russo and his athletes plan on holding virtual practices during the quarantine.
“That effort is something I appreciate about this group of players. Now, we have to trust in the safety protocol and move forward,” Russo said. “When we get back on the ice Feb. 24, I will expect them to continue those efforts. In the meantime, we will meet virtually for practices. They are a very athletic group, and I believe they will be resilient as well.”
Guilford is coming off of a season that saw the team finish with a record of 5-11-1. The Grizzlies’ senior captain is defenseman Steven Tortora. Forwards Thomas Ring, Kent Mackowiak, and Zach Sperry are the other seniors on the squad.