APAC Commissioner Jim Britt celebrates the start of the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference.
On the night of November 2, 2018, history was made at Grundy Arena in Bristol. Holy Ghost Prep faced off against La Salle in the inaugural game of the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference.
The new league features four schools; Malvern Prep and a St. Joseph’s Prep as well as the Explorers and the Firebirds, where hockey is a full-fledged varsity sport. APAC Commissioner Jim Britt was on hand for the Explorers’ 5-1 in front of a large end enthusiastic audience and was elated at the response.
“The turnout tonight is just indicative of the kind of enthusiasm that is possible, that is there,” he said at one point in the evening. “It’s really neat to see.” Britt, who at one time coached at Holy Ghost Prep, was approached last May about getting involved with the APAC and its four member schools. “They had come together and reached a great discussion point to try and organize, celebrate, and to help grow the game of high-school hockey in the Philadelphia area,” he said. What makes the APAC unique from most other high-school
alliances is that the sport has varsity status at all four member
institutions. “These four schools have made a commitment so that hockey is a valued and treasured part of their athletic programs,” Britt said. “It’s also a level playing field when it comes to eligibility rules, the competition between schools, using the spirit and the intent of the PIAA, the spirit and the intent of the Flyers Cup Committee, trying to make sure that hockey is celebrated. When hockey is celebrated, hockey can grow.”
Britt says all four schools and the league, are committed to the concept of the true student-athlete. “The idea of a student athlete is student first,” he said. “The athletics come second and are an important part of a student’s life but the scholarship, the education comes first. “My experience with college programs, with friends who are college coaches, is they want student athletes who recognize the value of an education, who are not problems when it comes to academics, who are doing the right things. They’re studying hard, they’re looking for help if they need it; the books come first.”