Dropping the Puck at Fenway
BU vs BC, in the shadow of the Green Monster
After the BU men’s hockey team’s jaw-dropping NCAA comeback victory in last April’s championship, it seemed impossible that things could get better.
But that was in Washington, D.C. This winter, the national hockey champs will have their chance to break new ice, and add to local sports lore. They’ll be stickhandling in Fenway Park, storied home of the Boston Red Sox.
Next January, the Terriers will face off against archrival and 2008 NCAA champion Boston College on a rink set in the shadow of the Green Monster, within the confines of New England’s legendary sports mecca. Slap shots and kick saves will replace line drives and booted grounders.
Part of a Hockey East doubleheader set for January 8, the game will be played on the same ice as the NHL’s Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers a week later. The other collegiate game pits the women’s teams of the University of New Hampshire and Northeastern University.
At a hot and humid press conference on August 20, Terrier coach Jack Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97) looked ahead to cooler weather, emphasizing the thrill of playing hockey at Fenway. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the players,” he said, and a special moment for him as well as for Boston College coach Jerry York, two of the three winningest coaches in college hockey history.
“This will be one of the highlights of our lives, to be coaching on opposite benches at Fenway Park,” he said, standing next to his longtime friend and rival. “We’re very excited to play in this place we all know and love so much.”
The average ticket price is $50; organizers point out that 35 percent of the ballparks seats are $25 or less, the cheapest going for $5 (the most expensive for $90). No seating will be added on the field itself, although the rink will take up only about a third of the surface. All regular seating will be available; the best hockey vantages will have some elevation, to better see the puck. Seats right beside the dugout on the same level as the players, best for baseball, might well be among the cheapest tickets. If the game sells out (at roughly 35,000), new hockey attendance records will be set for each university.
Fenway Park started hosting nonbaseball events in 2003, shortly after new owners acquired the Red Sox. Most have been concerts, most recently Paul McCartney.
Other sports have not been played at Fenway since the 1930s, when football and soccer teams used the field. Over the decades college hockey has been played outdoors, at both Spy and Hammond Ponds.
Tickets for hockey at Fenway go on sale to the general public on Thursday, September 17, at noon. The first game, the University of New Hampshire vs. Northeastern University women’s teams, begins at 4:30 p.m., January 8. The men’s game between BU and BC starts at 7:30 p.m. More information about the event and details on ticket availability can be found here.
Edward A. Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments