There are phone calls and then there are phone calls like the one Mount St. Charles hockey coach Dave Belisle received from Catholic Memorial coach Bill Hanson in late September.
Let’s just say Catholic Memorial thinks highly of its interstate rivalry with MSC. Come January the two New England high school hockey powers will take their annual on-ice get together to a grander stage with Fenway Park serving as the setting. There are some logistics to be ironed out such as when the actual outdoors game will take place – Belisle mentioned Wednesday night the teams are “leaning towards” Sunday, Jan. 8 with Sunday, Jan. 15 also discussed – but for intensive purposes, it appears that all systems are go.
“Catholic Memorial was asked to play the game against a Massachusetts school but they wanted to play Mount St. Charles,” said Belisle, mentioning that a date should be announced in the next week or so. “When (Hanson) called to ask, I immediately told him, ‘Yeah, absolutely.’ Playing outdoors is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It will be Christmas in January.”
The Catholic Memorial-MSC contest is part of the recognition of Fenway Park’s upcoming 100th anniversary in 2012. Fenway has played host to both NHL and college hockey games in recent winters. Frozen Fenway 2012 will include a Hockey East doubleheader between Vermont at UMass-Amherst with New Hampshire and Maine also squaring off.
Belisle considers this addition to the schedule “a big boast” in wake of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League cutting off a few games from the Mounties’ schedule, which is generally loaded with top-shelf competition in addition to facing Rhode Island-based teams.
“This is great for high school hockey in general,” said Belisle, traces of excitement resonating in his tone. “You never thought it would come to this, playing a high school game inside Fenway Park, but this is truly an honor.”