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College hockey officials announce Hockey East at Fenway

08.20.09 at 1:59 pm ET
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Hockey East added a college hockey doubleheader to the Fenway hockey festivities with a Thursday morning announcement

Hockey East added a college hockey doubleheader to the Fenway hockey festivities with a Thursday morning announcement

The proverbial cat has been out of the hockey bag for months now, but Hockey East made things official at Fenway Park Thursday morning when Commissioner Joe Bertagna announced a men’s and women’s college hockey doubleheader outdoors at Fenway Park on Friday, January 8.

Storied rivals Boston University and Boston College will play against each other in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m. on a sure-to-be frigid evening, and the Northeastern University women’s team will host the University of New Hampshire at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon. BC will be the home team hosting the Terriers at a regular hockey rink that will be set up past the pitcher’s mound in the infield and shallow outfield areas.

Representatives from the Red Sox, NESN, Hockey East, the NHL and the Boston Bruins were on hand to make the announcement, and everyone on hand was looking forward to playing some outdoor hockey under the lights. The collegiate game will make a nice, affordable alternative to the NHL/Bridgestone Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at Fenway Park, and the tickets will go on sale at noon on Sept. 17 and range from $5-90 for the once-in-a-lifetime event.

“We had heard rumors about this during the summer, but I didn’t really get my hopes up until coach Parker told us it was 95 percent a few days ago,” said Boston University forward and San Jose Sharks sixth round pick Nick Bonino. “I’ve played some pond hockey under the floodlights before, but nothing like this. The conditions will be unbelievable and I’m sure it’s going to be really cold.

“All I could think of when I heard we were playing this game was the movie ‘Mystery, Alaska. I wish I had Sidney Crosby’s cell phone number so I could give him a call and get some advice about adjusting to the elements and snow in an outdoor game.”

While it’s doubtful that Bonino will be tracking down Sid the Kid’s digits anytime soon for a little one-on-one consultation, it is another feather in the cap of the celebrated careers of college hockey coaching legends Jack Parker and Jerry York. Parker has been a longtime Red Sox season ticket holder and had been trying to put together a BC/BU game with York for years, but offseason improvement work inside Fenway Park always seemed to impede a potential outdoor game.

“It’s amazing what can happen when the NHL gets involved, isn’t it?” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna, who cracked that he had already consulted the Farmer’s Almanac to check the weather for the Friday night hockey game. “This is something that I think everyone in the league wanted to be a part of, and it’s really going to amount to a great experience for the student-athletes at BU, BC, UNH and Northeastern.”

According to Bertagna, event organizers have also left Saturday, Jan. 9, open in case there’s a blizzard or some other kind of crazy inclement weather in store for Friday night, and the games will be scheduled at the same times on Saturday if a postponement becomes necessary. The rink at Fenway will be fully constructed by mid-to-late December, and will stay intact diring the week between the Winter Classic game between the Bruins and Flyers on Jan. 1 and the college hockey doubleheader. It’s expected that public skating at Fenway will take place in the week between the Winter Classic game and the college hockey doubleheader.

Bruins representative Bob Sweeney also made mention of an alumni game during the announcement, which is an idea that was kicked around when the Winter Classic was announced in July at Fenway Park. Perhaps a game between a Boston Bruins legends team and a Philadelphia Flyers legend team full of the old Broad Street Bullies?

As mentioned before, tickets will go on sale Sept. 17 and can be purchased at www.tickets.com/fenwayhockey.

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