With a conference record of 5-1-1 it would be hard to believe the Saints Peter and Paul High School ice hockey team was forced to play their entire season so far on the road.
The nearby Talbot Community Center ice rink, where the Sabres have practiced and held their home games in the past, informed the team they would be unable to host them due to needing “major repairs” shortly before the start of their season.
This unforeseen issue changed the season for the Sabres, who play in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association. Not only would they face every game on the road, but Saints Peter and Paul athletic director Pat Tracy and head coach Sam Gerdano were forced to find a new facility — and fast — for the team to practice. With lack options on the Eastern Shore of Maryland they found time at the The Centre Ice Rink in Harrington, Del. The rink could only offer one hour two days a week for the team to practice, which is much less than usual.
With all that has been stacked against the team “they could complain and feel sorry for themselves, but they have truly made the most of it and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Tracy.
More than halfway through the season you would think traveling nearly an hour to practice two times a week would start to wear on the team, but Gerdano, who drives the bus to practice, says they have made the most of it and have remained positive.
“They enjoy the time with each other, the experience has definitely contributed to their team building.”
Gerdano, who teaches computer science at Saints Peter and Paul, grew up playing hockey in the Washington area and started his coaching career in 2015. This is his second season coaching the Sabres.
Last season the team made it to the championship game but lost in overtime.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into the season, but I’m very happy with what we have accomplished so far,” Gerdano said. “We still have a ways to go to achieve what we want to achieve … Our goal is to get back there and take the whole thing.”
Gerdano said the Sabres learned recently that the Talbot Community Center will reopen and be available for their final two regular season home games in February.