skip navigation

Recent Western Reserve News

2021 Brooklyn East (Kent) District Preview

By Scott Harrington 02/20/2021, 5:15pm EST

Gilmour looking for another shot at state tournament

Gilmour is the #1 seed and defeated US in the Cleveland Cup semifinals, but it was the Preppers that won, 2-0, on the last day of the regular season to secure second place in the GLHL standings and a bye in the league tournament.

The SOM Center Rivalry could write its next chapter in the March 5 district final.

Gilmour is the defending district champ, winning the 2020 final 4-1 over Mentor. COVID denied the Lancers a trip to Columbus for the state tournament, so head coach John Malloy and his returning players are eager for another shot.

In building their resume for the top seed, GA went 9-2-0 down the stretch and took St. Edward, the state’s #1 team according to the coach’s poll, to overtime in their last two meetings. Unfortunately, it was Ed’s that came up with the win in the Cleveland Cup championship game (in a shootout) as the Lancers tried to defend their league title.

University School is flying under the radar a bit but they proved they can get past the rival Lancers. The Preppers started the season a disappointing 3-9-0 but went 6-1-1 over their last eight games that included a 1-0 OT loss to Gilmour in Cleveland Cup semis.

US is lead by All-League performer John Pape, who leads Preppers in goals (14) and points (26), and red-hot goaltender Jeffrey Fillion (also All-GLHL) who is 4-2-1 with a 1.52 goals-against average, .959 save percentage and two shutouts.

GCHSHL Response to COVID: Flexibility

By Scott Harrington 11/25/2020, 4:45pm EST

50th Anniversary season will look different, but will move forward

Ryan Kelber, commissioner of the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League, distributed a memo to coaches of the league’s 34 member teams Wednesday announcing changes to the 2020-21 regular season and Baron Cup formats in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Teams are being encouraged to play as many of their scheduled leagues games as possible, but no league standings will be kept, and every team will qualify for the three 2021 Baron Cup tournaments.

It has become clear that crossing your fingers and hoping not many games get cancelled is not a viable option for commissioners around the state.  Leagues must plan for more positive COVID tests and the game cancellations they will bring.

“What we are trying to avoid is having an imbalanced schedule in January when it comes time to do the seeding for the Baron Cup,” he said. “Some of these games are just not going to get made up.”

Kelber said he also did not want to put teams in a position where they had to cancel non-league games and try to re-schedule league contests.

"I think this year honestly is going to be very fluid," said Mentor head coach Paul McKito. "The GCHSHL is making the correct move."

Pause and Effect

By Jim Smith 11/20/2020, 1:00pm EST

Five Northeast Ohio Rinks Close

     As a result of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s Resolution No. 2020-143, several Cleveland area ice arenas have announced a “pause” in operations at their facilities with the possibility of reopening in mid-December.

     The resolution is “ implement a Covid-19 stay-at-home health advisory effective November 18, 2020 through December 17, 2020.”

     As one can imagine, this pause will have an enormous effect on the youth, high school and even collegiate hockey seasons while, at the same time, trusting the pause will have a measurable effect on the number of  COVID-19 cases in their respective communities.

     Thornton Park Ice Arena will suspend operations effective November 23rd thru December 17 while C.E. Orr is “closed until further notice” according to the City of Euclid website.

     “The Governor’s Curfew Order caused us to review the rink schedule and consolidate the schedule to end at 9:45 pm. Then with the Cuyahoga County Stay at Home advisory and concern for growing COVID-19 spread during the holidays caused us to look at all recreation programs and services and ultimately for the health and wellness of the community, we decided to follow the Stay at Home Advisory. Additionally, the local school district’s adherence to the Stay at Home Advisory and their temporary suspension of athletics helped with the decision to reduce opportunities for community spread through sports and other recreation programs,” explained Alexandria Nichols, Director, Recreation Department for the City of Shaker Heights via email.

      In Lake County, the City of Mentor announced the closing of Mentor Ice Arena for the remainder of the calendar year, effective Monday November 23rd, while immediately suspending the youth hockey program.

     The announcement from Mentor stated, “a decision will be made at a later date on when these facilities will reopen.”

      Additionally, the two ice surfaces at Cleveland Heights Community Center have yet to open this season and the Kent State University Ice Arena has been shuttered since September.

       The ice at the Kent State facility was removed several weeks ago as well, signaling doubt that the facility will re-open this season.

       As the students at Kent State University returned home for Thanksgiving and are converting to remote learning for the remainder of the semester, and a recent announcement from the university confirmed the suspension of  spring semester club sports, it seems illogical to believe the ice arena would open for what would be a very limited period of time in the upcoming semester.

      To the credit of the leadership at ice arena facilities across the Cleveland market, they have been meeting monthly via Zoom calls to develop and share best practices for keeping their facilities safe and for potential resumption of activities.

      “Throughout the pandemic the City of Shaker Heights has spent time reviewing cases locally and collaborating with other recreation service providers on steps each agency is taking to reduce community spread of COVID-19. As a public entity, it is imperative that we set a good model for the community and stay abreast of trends in recreation operations. Throughout this current temporary suspension of programs and activities, we will communicate with local entities and regional recreation service providers to help decide if the temporary suspension will last beyond December 17. A concern is the December holidays and potential for continued rapid spread of COVID-19. It is the intent of the City to continue to help mitigate the spread of the virus and December 17 is the end of the Stay at Home Order for Cuyahoga County but the county going to purple risk level or continued large volumes of positive tests in the county will impact reopening,” added Nichols, who has played a leadership role in the monthly zoom meetings.

      The list of best practices and protocols for the rinks participating is updated as frequently as possible on the Cleveland Suburban Hockey League website.

       It is advisable to check the status of each rink prior to traveling to a facility.

       Stay tuned for any additional announcements regarding suspension of activities at local ice rink facilities.


Follow Jim Smith on twitter @BlueLineNotes