Behind the scenes: Hill athletics


Facilities management team sets the rink up for the 2021 ice hockey season. Photo by Jesse Corser-James ’23

When students think about football’s victory over Lawrenceville, everyone thinks of rushing the fields and no one thinks of who washes the uniforms, tapes the athletes, or maintains the facilities. 

These days are neither light nor easy, and the work never stops mounting up for Brian Artim, the equipment room manager. 

Artim is responsible for maintaining the image of Hill during athletic events. This means cleaning all the uniforms, practice gear, and any other Hill-issued athletic equipment. 

Artim spoke on the workload of having to clean every team’s uniforms, especially after a busy weekend of games: “It’s totally non-stop because I come into piles and piles of uniforms, which, with only having two washers, two dryers, takes me all day.”

Artim works hard to keep Hill’s athletes looking great in their respective uniforms — a process that is long and tedious but vital to the teams’ success. 

With ice hockey and the school’s own rink being such a large piece of Hill athletics, the maintenance of said rink is a large operation as well. Simply getting the ice down is a monumental task. 

“So it’s a long process. Obviously, we have to start the refrigeration system up. So it freezes 24 hours, it’s frozen solid and we start layering the water. We put multiple layers of water down, and then we paint white and then put a little bit more water down to install the lines and logos and put a bunch more water down until we have it skateable. It’s a long process that usually takes about a week,” Athletics Facilities Manager Bill Swartz said.

Swartz is in charge of the rink and has the daunting yet rewarding task of maintaining the rink for Hill’s hockey teams. He spoke on the task of maintaining this rink and what goes into it: “Obviously running the Zamboni is a big part of the operation. Also keeping the ice temperature the same, you know, which is difficult with the outside temperatures.”

This job is the foundation of Hill’s hockey program, and, without Swartz’s hard work, the season would be over before it even started. 

Another key aspect of Hill’s athletics program is its trainers. With injuries being inevitable during a long season, having a seasoned staff there for support is key. 

“I believe this is going into my ninth year now,” said Chris McGuigan, the assistant athletic trainer.

McGuigan is charged with the task of keeping athletes healthy or rehabbing them to get back to their sports. 

“I deal with sports injuries, preventing injuries within sports, and then rehab following sports and the evaluation of injuries. So everything from sprained ankles to torn ACLs, or rehabbing things like shin splints to recovering from ACL repair,” McGuigan said. 

McGuigan is on the front lines of keeping Hill’s athletes safe and able to play. He needs to do everything and anything, which includes taping, giving athletes exercises, and even going to practices and home games to be there in case of an emergency. 

“I would probably say that we do more than just taping ankles. So I always try to think of us as kind of like a physical therapist and the EMT squished together,” McGuigan said. “So we’re here for stuff as it happens on the field, whether that’s an emergency or just the first time you’ve rolled your ankle, and we’re here the day you get back out onto the field.”

McGuigan is also responsible for documenting every person who comes into the training room, and he said this is what takes up a large amount of his time in the office before athletes start showing up for their treatment. 

McGuigan also spoke on the true depth of an athletic trainer, saying “it can be a common misconception that athletic trainers are just getting water and taping ankles.” He explained that the trainers are also responsible for guiding athletes through the healing process by “carrying out rehab, making sure you’re evaluated at full strength, full-motion, you’re able to do everything, before getting back out there.”

Whether it’s a fresh pair of shorts, a clean sheet of ice, or a healed injury, Hill is working constantly to ensure that its athletes are always fully equipped and prepared to be successful in their sports seasons.

Staff Writers Joey Asterino ’23, Jesse Corser-James ’23, Emilie Kirschner ’23, Rose Flaherty ’23, Peter Galindez ’23, contributed to this report.