Roman senior gets defensive on the ice

Roman Catholic defenseman Drew Mulvenna hopes to continue his hockey career at Kutztown next year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Drew Mulvenna isn’t the biggest guy on the ice.

But he plays like he is.

Mulvenna is a senior on the Roman Catholic High School ice hockey team, and he stands about 5 feet 10 and weighs about 160 pounds.

That might not seem too small, but when you’re playing against bigger forwards in the Catholic League, you are giving up a little size.

But Mulvenna doesn’t look at it as a huge disadvantage. Instead, he just does his best.

“I play through it,” said Mulvenna, who lives in Mayfair. “You just got to work harder and do what you need to do.”

That’s exactly what he’s been doing this year.

The Cahillites are having a strong season.

The games they lost have been close ones to top teams Cardinal O’Hara and La Salle, and for the first time in four years, Roman defeated the defending Catholic League champion Father Judge.

For Mulvenna, who scored a goal in the victory, it was tough because he went up against senior Franklin Black, who is a teammate on the team they play on in the Ed Snider Foundation league.

“Playing against him was different,” Mulvenna said. “I have my Snider teammate for over six years staring at me on the other side of the ice. When he scored during our first game, our Snider’s families cheered for him. At the end of the day, we are one big Snider family.”

The win increases expectations for Mulvenna and his teammates.

“Our goal is to win the (Philadelphia Catholic League),” Mulvenna said. “It was a really big win (for us).”

Mulvenna is doing his part to make sure the Cahillites are in position to win a championship.

This year has been very different, as it is in every sport, because Roman hasn’t had a lot of time to jell. It’s hard in any sport, but hockey is particularly difficult because you have to find ice time to practice.

That’s meant a lot of working out on your own and not a lot of time spent together. But Mulvenna is doing whatever he can to get the younger guys acclimated to playing hockey at the high school level.

It helps that seven of the guys on the team know each other from the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, but the younger guys are learning the ropes.

“It’s like some of them are afraid, because it’s a lot different playing high school and I’m telling them it’s OK, they’re going to be good,” Mulvenna said. “I try to help the younger guys get ready to play.

“This year has been really rough. Especially because we have to get dressed in the parking lot and it’s been really cold all year.”

The cold and snow haven’t helped with continuity, either.

When it gets too snowy or icy, practice has to be canceled. Couple that with coronavirus protocols, and rink time has been tough to come by.

“It has been hard, we’ve had to play games without a lot of practice, but we’re good,” Mulvenna said. “We are working to get better.”

Mulvenna is also working hard for his future.

A good student, Mulvenna is headed to Kutztown University in the fall. The Golden Bears didn’t play hockey this year because of coronavirus, but Mulvenna is looking at trying out for the team next year.

He also plans on majoring in computer science.

“I don’t really know why, I just like computers, and I’m pretty good at math, so I thought that would be good,” Mulvenna said. “It’s something I’m interested in.”

He also could return to his roots through his new job.

Mulvenna has been playing hockey for more than a decade, and all of that time has been spent with the Ed Snider Foundation.

The nonprofit uses the sport of hockey to educate and empower under-resourced youth of Philadelphia to prosper in the game of life.

Since the sport, and the foundation, have given a lot to him, Mulvenna hopes to some day give back to the group to help younger kids like him.

He would love to do it, but don’t expect him to pick up a whistle.

“I think I would like to go back and maybe do an internship with them,” said Mulvenna, who has notched three assists on the year. “Not coach, though. I don’t think I’d want to coach. I’m more of a player.”

A player who is enjoying his final season and proud of what he’s been able to do with the Cahillites.

“I just want to win a PCL championship,” Mulvenna said. “That’s my only goal.”