In going to play their winter season amid the coronavirus pandemic, Cheshire High School boys’ ice hockey head coach Anthony Giusto told his team that they needed to be ready for anything and adapt as best as they could.
This week, that adage will be put to the test. On Monday morning, the team learned that, due to COVID-19 protocols, they would need to shut down and quarantine the coaching staff and players through Sunday, Feb. 28.
Giusto said that a team member had tested positive for coronavirus, but added that the individual hadn’t been with squad since Wednesday, Feb. 17. By decree of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, people need to quarantine for a period of 10 days after their last close contact.
“We have to be prepared for everything this year,” stated Giusto. “I sent the kids an email that said we are rolling with the punches. We can’t get too high or too low.”
Giusto said the Rams plan to make up games and play out the rest of the season.
“Being off the ice for 10 days, it will be a challenge to play three games a week going forward,” stated Giusto. “Everybody is making the SCC (Southern Connecticut Conference) tournament, so we already have a spot. With other teams in the state facing similar (COVID-19) situations, I think it will come down to who adjusts best later in the year.”
While not able to get together as a team, Cheshire players can work out at home.
“I talked to the kids about staying active whether it is stick handling in the driveway or running on a treadmill if you have one,” stated Giusto.
At the time of the shut down, Cheshire sits at 0-3 after losses to Amity (3-1, Feb. 13), North Haven (3-2, Feb. 15), and Sheehan (7-3, Saturday). Penalties have hampered the Rams against their competitive Division II schedule.
“While we are 0-3, I’ve seen positive things in all of our games,” reflected Giusto. “Once we get back on the ice, it will just be practices and games through the rest of the year.”
Right now, Cheshire is scheduled to play Guilford next on March 1 at Louis Astorino Ice Arena in Hamden. Giusto hopes to push that game back a day, so the Rams can have at least one practice after coming out of quarantine.
Overall, Giusto feels that his team has done a good job adapting to different safety measures such as wearing masks during practices and games.
“When we get back on the ice, we’ll go right to work and hopefully get our first win of the year,” said Giusto.
Due to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws, CHS Athletic Director Steve Trifone said that he couldn’t go into detail on the ice hockey situation, but added that the athletic department has protocols in place to keep athletes and coaches safe.
At the start of the winter tryouts in January, the freshmen boys’ basketball team also had to quarantine due to COVID-19 protocols.
“It is still a pandemic and things arise along the way,” said Trifone. “We will do our best when situations come up. You always want to have precautionary measures to keep everyone safe.”