January 3, 2014

HS Journal: Field of Dreams

By Matt Williams

Six lucky Massachusetts high school hockey teams ushered 2014 by playing outdoor games at Fenway Park on New Year's Eve. Lincoln-Sudbury against Boston Latin, the Duxbury girls against Hingham, and St. John's Prep against Malden Catholic highlighted a special slate of high school action that's a part of Citi's Frozen Fenway, which began with the Holy Cross-Bentley college showdown last Saturday and is highlighted by Hockey East doubleheaders on Jan. 4 and Jan. 11.

The kids playing in that historic venue enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The crispness of the air and the feeling of the outdoor setting, on top of the backdrop that is the home of the World Champion Boston Red Sox, is awe-inducing to say the least.

That got us thinking: If cost, logistics and weather were no obstacle, what other venues around New England would you dream of being able to play a high school game in?

CONNECTICUT: Rentschler Field, home of the U Conn football team. The then-Connecitcut Whale froze the place in 2011 with some success. It's a big venue, which helps feel the feeling of wonder you get on the ice outdoors.

: Yale Bowl

MAINE: Alfond Stadium, home of the University of Maine football team. Imagine being on the ice, looking to your left and seeing the iconic pointed roof of Alond Arena, home of the Maine Black Bears ice hockey team? It'd be tough to top that level of hockey nostalgia. You're almost guaranteed to have a snowy backdrop up in balmy Orono, which would only add to the excitement.

Runner-up: Hadlock Field, home of the Portland Sea Dogs

MASSACHUSETTS: Besides Fenway Park, why not Harvard Stadium? It's one of the oldest concrete stadiums in the country, and the architecture is pretty amazing. You have the impressive column and arc design, the Charles River and the Boston skyline. We can only imagine how awesome a hockey rink would look from high on top of the Harvard press box.

: Gillette Stadium in Foxboro

NEW HAMPSHIRE: The dream answer is the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It's never been done before, but we're not sure they'd be able to find room for a rink even in the offseason and a potentially cleared out infield.

So we'll go with Cowell Stadium at the University of New Hampshire. Much like their neighbors to the North in the Maine, the idea of being able to skate and see the Whittemore Center behind you is too cool to pass up. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Lake Whitt.”

Gill Stadium, home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats

RHODE ISLAND: McCoy Stadium, home of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Throughout the NHL's Winter Classics, baseball stadiums have been great for outdoor hockey and the Paw Sox stomping grounds would be no different. The left-field scoreboard adds some character, and the fans would be a little closer to the action than at some other spots around New England, making for a festive experience for the players.

Brown Stadium

VERMONT: Let's go really old school and say Lake Champlain. Perhaps not ideal for fans, but if boards and benches could be installed (Say Mystery, Alaska style) this setting could be the most natural and majestic in all of New England. Playing here would truly be taking the game back to its roots.

: Sabine Field at Norwich University

Power Rankings

To see which teams Matt has in the top 10 for each of the six states in New England, head to our High School Power Rankings page.

Where would you want to play? Let us know at feedback@hockeyjournal.com