BOSTON -- Every Red Sox fan can remember the first time they walked up the ramps from the dark underbelly of Fenway Park to the bright, vibrant, endless sea of green of the now 100-year-old ballpark.
But those memories usually happen during the summer. A handful of local high school hockey programs got the chance to add a little twist to their Fenway memory bank.
The Red Sox organization kicked off the Sun Life Frozen Fenway event with three high school games on a rink splashed smack in the middle of the infield stretching from first base to third.
The look on Kevin Moran’s face -- who paced Boston Latin Academy in a 4-3 win over East Boston with a hat trick in the opener -- pretty much summed up the entire day for all who participated. Moran needed a minute to kind of gather himself as he gazed around the park before he could put together his thoughts of what he considered a top highlight in his hockey career.
“It was such a privilege,” said Moran. “I still can’t even believe it. I had to take a last skate around the ice just to take it in.”
The Red Sox donated the ice time to the four Boston public schools that participated in the event. Latin Academy had both the girls' and boys' teams play, while the Eastie boys and Boston Latin School girls joined in. The schools were picked at random before the beginning of the season and the teams were told they would be participating in the event when the schedule came out.
“It’s like hallowed grounds out here,” said East Boston head coach Bob Anthony. “Hockey is back in Boston. You can see it with the way the Bruins have been playing the past couple of years. Hockey was down and it’s starting to make a resurgance. Our numbers are low, but we realize that maybe this can be a little bit of a sparkplug for us so to speak.”
Added Dragons boys coach Bob McCormick: “It’s a place where you come to and your grandfather brought you here. I actually graduated from Latin Academy when it was in the shadows of Fenway and it’s really nice. What an excellent opportunity ... It’s even nicer to be able to walk away with a win.”
Win or lose, the players and coaches had the same look that beamed from Moran. It was a look of excitement and pure joy, and the next time they see Dustin Pedroia make a diving play up the middle to save a run, they can say that they vaulted over a bench in that very spot and played in a hockey game.