SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

September 27, 2013

St. John's Prep hockey to play Lancers at Fenway Park on New Year's Eve

(Continued)

The Eagles had to move a few games around their schedule to make it work; for instance, they were scheduled to play another Catholic Conference rival, B.C. High, on Monday, Dec. 30, but instead moved that contest to Saturday, Jan. 4. “It’s not as if you’re going to say no to play at Fenway; you find a way to make it happen,” said Hanson.

St. John’s Prep and Malden Catholic have had some terrific hockey battles over the last several years. The two teams played one of the all-time classic state championship games in 2011 when the Lancers, down two goals in the second period, rallied to defeat St. John’s in overtime, 4-3, and claim their first Super 8 championship. This past season, the Eagles swept a home-and-away series between the two, but it was MC who once again lifted the state’s title hardware on the TD Garden ice for the third straight season.

Several hockey teams who have had the opportunity to play a game at Fenway in the past (such as B.C. High vs. Catholic Memorial in Jan. 2012) have worn retro jerseys special for their historic contest. Hanson would love to find a way for the Eagles to hit the Fenway ice wearing something similar, such as what the 1950s Prep hockey team might have worn.

“It’s those little things you can do that make a special event that much more memorable,” he said.

Playing outside on the final day of the calendar year might be a completely new experience for many of skaters on both teams, which likely played the majority of their hockey growing up in rinks all over New England and beyond.

“I remember skating at Mack Park in Salem (where he grew up) or going over to Beverly and skating at Shoe Pond; you’re not even allowed to do that at either place any more,” said Hanson. “Pond hockey doesn’t seem as prevalent as it once was, so that in and of itself will be a terrific thing for these kids, to be able to play an actual game outdoors.”

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