Men’s ice hockey will be one of the first NESCAC teams to play an outdoor league game as a part of Frozen Fenway 2014 at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass. The Ephs will play Trinity on Jan. 7.
This year’s program will be the third time outdoor hockey has been played at Fenway Park. The 2014 Frozen Fenway series will include nine college games and seven high school games between Dec. 28 and Jan. 11.
Co-captains Paul Steinig ’14 and Nick Anderson ’14 look forward to the game as a bonding experience for the team. “Our team is already a really tight-knit group, but having this game to look forward to makes this season even more special,” Steinig said. Anderson hopes the Frozen Fenway game will bring the team closer together and provide “an extra boost down the playoff stretch.”
“The grassroots of hockey was played outside,” Head Coach Bill Kangas said. Hockey fans and players alike understand how an outdoor game brings the sport back to where it came from, as it creates an atmosphere unlike that of an indoor game. “Being able to play outdoors – in what is probably the coolest stadium in America – is amazing,” Steinig said.
“I hope that this game can give greater exposure to the NESCAC league and give it some credibility that it deserves,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, the game at Fenway will draw some interest and get some good student support,” Kangas said. The College, as one of the two first NESCAC schools to play in Frozen Fenway, will have a national spotlight placed on its hockey program. “Events like these thrust schools into the spotlight, and it’s a privilege to be able to represent such a great school at an event like this,” Anderson said.
“Winning is our first prerogative,” Anderson said. Last year, the Ephs beat the Jumbos in the NESCAC semifinal game. “The matchup will be extremely important and intense,” Steinig said. While this game is hosted on a neutral site, it is still important and can affect the team’s standing during the season.
“Teams that can meet the challenges will make it further along,” Kangas said, and playing an outdoor league game is a challenge both the College and Trinity have not faced before.
According to Steinig, the team will not prepare any differently for this league game. “Only the experience of playing outdoors at Fenway will change,” Anderson said. Kangas commented on the difficulty of preparing for an outdoor game because “you don’t know what the elements will be that night.”
“We are very fortunate we have this experience, and we hope other teams have the opportunity to enjoy similar experiences,” Kangas said. While Kangas knows the Ephs will not have the opportunity to play again at Fenway for many years, he hopes a NESCAC game can become a staple in the Frozen Fenway series.
The hockey season begins in earnest on Nov. 16 with a home game and senior night to kick off the upcoming season.