Williams College Ephs play on special night during Frozen Fenway
BOSTON -- As special as this trip to Fenway Park has been for the Williams College men's hockey team, it's been just as special for Jim Menard of Williamstown.
"It was pretty amazing" to walk into the old ballpark, said Menard, who has worked on the Williams facilities staff for 29 years. "Actually, it's the first time I've been to Fenway Park in my life."
Williams and Trinity played in the nightcap of a Frozen Fenway college hockey doubleheader, one of 16 scheduled college, prep school and high school games that began in late December.
As the Ephs came out of the Red Sox dugout at Fenway for their pregame skate, the members of the Williams women's team cheered them onto the ice.
"It's really cool. This is an experience beyond what we've ever been through," said Gaby Vukosin, a captain of the women's team. "We practiced [Monday] late so we had time today."
The Ephs pulled into Boston as the first game of the doubleheader was beginning. In that game, UMass-Boston beat Salem State 4-2.
"Usually we get here two hours before a contest," Williams head coach Bill Kangas said. "We got here an additional hour and a half [early], so the kids could walk around and take in all the sights before we meet and go over our game plan."
Their arrival couldn't have come soon enough.
"We've been waiting for this for five months and it's finally here," Williams coach Bill Kangas said. "It's a nice, cool night at Fenway -- probably minus 5 or 10 with the wind chill. It's a great night for hockey."
It was Williams' home game, moved from this coming weekend at Lansing Chapman Rink. As the home team, the Ephs used the Red Sox locker room. Junior forward Alex DeBaere is the only member of the Williams team from Massachusetts, and using catcher David Ross' locker was a pretty special occasion for him.
"I know a lot of my friends and family are going to be there," he said.
A fair amount of Williams' alumni were also in attendance early on. Many of them were sharing a suite with former Eph hockey player Rob Abel.
Abel played for Kangas at Williams and graduated in 1991. He lives in Williamstown with his family and once coached the Mount Greylock hockey team.
Abel was in attendance with his 10-year-old son, Cam, and they were both in awe of the night's events.
"They'll remember this for the rest of their lives and the buddies they're playing with," said Rob Abel, who was wearing his old No. 24 Williams jersey.