Hockey and football at Fenway Park. Not your typical sports, but in recent years the University of Maine has had the opportunity to play each of these sports at one of America’s most beloved ballparks. With the football team playing at Fenway last weekend, I started thinking about the two hockey games played there while I was with the program.
The first time that Maine played at Fenway Park was in 2012 against New Hampshire. I remember vividly Brian Flynn scoring 1:29 into overtime to give Maine a 5-4 win in front of an audience that was listed at over 38,000. As Flynny scored, I was standing on the field against the glass taking photos. It was an experience that I’ll never forget.
I have just as great memories from practice the day before. Everyone was so excited. We were considered the home team in the game, so we got the Red Sox locker room. That was an amazing experience in itself. We all then walked under the stands into the dugout. We were all like kids on Christmas Day hanging out in the dugout, walking out to the rink and waiting for practice.
As each guy came out onto the ice for practice, I got a photo of them with the iconic ballpark in the background. The first part of practice was special, then the team realized that they must get in a good practice as we were playing UNH the next day.
Following practice, I played photographer again and literally took hundreds of photos. There were team shots on the ice, roommates and classmates all wanted shots of themselves together on the ice with the ballpark in the background. At the end, I remember handing the camera off, and I stood in the middle of the ice and had my photo taken. I’ve got a collage of that weekend in a frame on my wall. Memories for a lifetime.
In 2014, Maine played Boston University. The day before the game was very similar to two years prior. Ben Hutton and Devin Shore were the stars of that team. As sophomores, they’d never experienced Fenway before. Again, everyone was taking as many photos as possible so that they could remember this experience for a lifetime.
The weather was brutal the morning of the game and we did not know if we’d get the game in. Sunday had been designated as a makeup day. Nobody really expected us to play, so it was an odd experience heading to the ballpark with so much uncertainty. It was January 11 and the temperature was around 50 degrees.
The game started after a short delay. I remember hanging out in the Red Sox dugout, seeing a flashing light and then the boom of thunder. The game was immediately stopped and they tried to get the guys off the ice as quickly as possible. The only problem was they all needed their skate guards to walk to the dugout and back into the locker room.
I ran out and started putting skate guards on skates as did our team doctors and a couple of other people who were down on the field. For the next hour or so we hung out in the dugout waiting for the game to resume. Once it did, it was never really a contest. Maine defeated Boston University 7-3 behind two goals apiece from Hutton, Shore and Ryan Lomberg.
These games are two of the most special that I was ever a part of. It was a great experience for everyone involved, and I can guarantee you that every guy who was a part of the game can remember the two days like it was yesterday. I hope that the football team came away with the same amazing memories that we all have.