COVID case ends Vineyarder boys hockey playoff hopes

Girls playoffs back on after mistakenly reported COVID case.

A positive COVID-19 case has shut down the boys hockey playoff run.

A member of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School boys hockey team has tested positive for COVID-19, removing the Vineyarders from the Cape and Islands league playoffs.

High school athletic director Mark McCarthy told the Times several members of the boys hockey team were tested after contact tracing was conducted, following a separate positive test result on the girls hockey team that was later deemed negative due to a mistake from the testing site.

The high school conducts mandatory weekly testing for athletes and coaches. Typically, teams take samples and ship them out on Thursday for testing. The teams then get the answers back by the weekend, but due to a shipping delay, results were not available until Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the school received word from the testing site that a member of the girls hockey team received a positive COVID-19 test. McCarthy immediately contacted three other schools on the Cape the girls team played, removing the teams from the playoff tournament.

McCarthy received a call from Principal Sara Dingledy Tuesday night that the lab made a mistake with the girl’s hockey test, and it was negative — putting the Vineyarders girls team back in the playoff hunt.

McCarthy spoke with league officials Wednesday, who will restart the girls tournament Thursday, beginning with the Vineyarders playing Barnstable in the semifinal on Feb. 25 at 3 pm. The Vineyarder girls were scheduled to play Sandwich, but a member of the Sandwich team tested positive for COVID-19. Other league semifinals will be played Saturday, and the finals played on Sunday.

“It’s unfortunate that it played out that way, but as a league we’re really trying to make sure we finish up the season for the girls, and we’re going to make every attempt to do that over the next four days,” McCarthy said.

Through contact tracing with the school nurse, athletic trainer, and the boards of health, several members of the boys hockey team were tested, revealing one positive case.

McCarthy then notified Mashpee/Monomoy, which the Vineyarders boys team played last weekend.

The elimination is an unfortunate one for the Vineyarders, who finished the season 8-6-0 as co-champions of the Cape and Islands Lighthouse League, and were set to make a promising playoff run.

The boys hockey tournament will continue, but without the Vineyarders and Mashpee/Monomoy. Dennis-Yarmouth and St. John Paul, who were to play the Vineyard and Mashpee/Monomoy respectively, will advance in the playoffs.

“This is all COVID protocol,” McCarthy said. “Schools all over the state have had to shut down programs for a period of time … that’s just how this disease works. We’ve felt fortunate we’ve been able to get this far. We’re excited to be able to continue with the girls hockey tournament.”

While the boys team’s postseason is over, McCarthy said, the silver lining was that they can now focus on treating and contact tracing for others. “Our concern is that everybody is healthy,” McCarthy said.

Boys Coach Matt Mincone said despite the tough and sudden end to the season, the team had a great run and a good developmental year. Mincone has also been in contact with the player who tested positive, and said he’s asymptomatic. He also plans to have a team Zoom to talk about the season with the players. “I’m proud as far as we went with protocols and the growth with all the players, following all the protocols, and they played hard,” Mincone said. “It’s a tough way to end … this pandemic is not discriminating by any means.”