Friday, December 23, 2011

Frozen Fenway Matchup to Feature UNH vs. Maine

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The ice hockey arch rivalry between the University of New Hampshire and the University of Maine will take to a new venue early in 2012, as they travel to Massachusetts to renew their storied rivalry.
The Frozen Fenway offering this time around will feature the Wildcats and the Black Bears on Jan. 7, according to school officials, Hockey East and Fenway Sports Management.
The historic doubleheader at the summer home of the Boston Red Sox will see the UNH-Maine game begin at 7:30 p.m., following a 4 p.m. contest between the University of Vermont Catamounts and the University of Massachusetts Minutemen.
“Few experiences in my four decades in college hockey were as special as the first Frozen Fenway in 2010,” Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna said in announcing the twin bill. “It was a once in a lifetime experience for our four schools the first time around and I expect the same in 2012. Given that we will help launch Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary season, we are doubly grateful for this opportunity.”
“We look forward to kicking off Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary celebrations with Frozen Fenway 2012, which is a great way for thousands of families to come and enjoy favorite winter pastimes as we begin celebrating its milestone year,” said Red Sox Executive Vice President Sam Kennedy. “We want to thank Mayor Menino for his continued support, and welcome back Joe Bertagna and Hockey East to America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.”
“I’m absolutely thrilled for UNH men’s hockey to be part of the Frozen Fenway doubleheader,” said UNH 22nd-year head coach Dick Umile, a native of Melrose, Mass., when the doubleheader was announced. “I believe the UNH/Maine rivalry is as good as any in college hockey and bringing this game to a venue like Fenway Park is huge.”
The 111th meeting in the series between the neighboring states’ schools will be broadcast live in high definition on New England Sports Network (NESN).
“Being from Boston, it doesn’t get any better than playing at Fenway Park,” Umile said. “We are honored to be a part of this experience and we are looking forward to the opportunity, as I’m sure Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine are.”
New Hampshire owns the nation’s second-longest active streak of National Collegiate Athletic Association post-season appearances at 10, and had advanced to post-season play in 17 of the last 21 seasons. UNH has been to the Frozen Four seven times during Umile’s tenure as coach.
The Black Bears have appeared in 11 Frozen Fours, have a 28–18 record in NCAA Tournament games, and have won two national championships—in 1993 and 1999.
Photo caption: (Photo courtesy