Frozen Fenway: Prepare for Hockey in the Wild

Frozen Fenway (Photo/Justin Soderberg)

(Photo/Justin Soderberg)

The weather in New England over the past week has made many people want to stay inside and out of the frigid cold. However, on Saturday, Jan. 11 many hockey fans will flock to America’s Most Beloved Ballpark for the second weekend of Hockey East’s Citi Frozen Fenway 2014.

UMass Lowell and Northeastern will take the ice in a Hockey East conference matchup in front of thousands of hockey fans on an hockey rink in the middle of the field on which the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 Major League Baseball World Series not long ago.

For some of the River Hawks this game will be one for the ages as they grew up cheering for the Red Sox and will get the unique experience of playing the game they love in a ballpark they love.

Daniel Furlong (Malden, Mass.), Stephen Buco (Providence, R.I.), Joseph Pendenza (Wilmington, Mass.), Derek Arnold (Foxboro, Mass.) and Doug Carr (Hanover, Mass.) all grew up in New England and are big fans for the Red Sox.

“I’ve been to Fenway to watch a lot of baseball games,” said Pendenza. “It will be cool being able to skate out there, a little added thing being that I grew up outside of Boston. It will definitely be a lot of fun.”

The River Hawks are all looking forward to the experience, including head coach Norm Bazin. The stern, emotionless leader of the hockey team likes to hide how he really feels, but was happy for the team to be able to take in the event starting with practice on the morning of Friday, Jan. 10.

“It’s such a special event and we’re looking forward to it,” said Bazin. “There are going to be a lot of pictures take that first day of practice and I am going to allow the kids to enjoy it. It’s such a unique experience that I want them to enjoy it, I want them to soak up every part of it. It’s going to be a fabulous event,” Bazin continued.

“There’s no question it’s for league points, so it takes on a different meaning,” said Bazin. “It’s not like it’s an exhibition that you can just skate through. Once game time comes it will be all business, but leading up to it I am going to let the guys soak it up.”

This will be the second time this season the River Hawks and Huskies will do battle, although the first came indoors at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass. back on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2013. The Huskies topped the River Hawks, 2-4, and was UMass Lowell’s only loss in an 11-game stretch.

SEE ALSO:  What fans need to know  |  Media scrum gallery  |  Schedule of events

With Northeastern taking game one of the two-game season series, UMass Lowell will have work extra hard on Saturday afternoon to get two league points against a high scoring offense.

“It’s going to be pretty enjoyable playing out at Fenway,” said Pendenza. “But in the back of our minds we also have to know its two big points, Northeastern’s a great team so we have to enjoy the moment, but at the same time it’s two huge points for the league standings.”

Saturday marks the first time the River Hawks will compete in a Frozen Fenway event or in an outdoor game. However, Northeastern has taken part in each of the three Frozen Fenway events dating back to 2010.

On the other hand, former and future River Hawks have competed in outdoor game this season already. Chad Ruhwedel and the Rochester Americans (AHL) took part in the Frozen Frontier in December 2013; Baptiste Amar, Yorick Treille and Grenoble played in The Winter Game in France; and UMass Lowell recruit Tyler Sifferlen and the Malden Catholic Lancers played a Frozen Fenway game on New Year’s Eve.

UMass Lowell fans are encouraged to join us at the Cask ‘n Flagon in Boston, the Official River Hawk Fan Headquarters for Frozen Fenway. UMass Lowell and Bauer will be hosting a pre-game gathering, beginning at 12:00 noon, at the world-famous restaurant located just across the street from America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.

The first 500 fans at the Cask ‘n Flagon will receive River Hawk scarves, courtesy of Bauer, and fans can enjoy complimentary appetizers. Get ‘em while they’re hot!

Now under a week away from UMass Lowell’s trip to Frozen Fenway, the team and fans are starting to get excited for the historic event.

Justin Soderberg has covered the UMass Lowell River Hawks and Hockey East for over two years. Soderberg also contributes to Boston Bruins coverage for Inside Hockey. Follow him on twitter: @JMSoderberg