There is a possibility that the University of Maine men’s hockey team could play the University of New Hampshire in an outdoor game at Fenway Park in Boston this coming season.
Boston University beat Boston College 3-2 in the first men’s Hockey East game at Fenway Park on Jan. 8, 2010, after the New Hampshire women had topped Northeastern 5-3 earlier that day.
Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna said the league has been in negotiations with the Boston Red Sox about having another set of games “ever since the first one,” but nothing has been decided yet.
“Nothing is imminent. We hope it will come to something,” said Bertagna. “We had such a good feeling after the first one. We got a good bump out of it. The kids had a great experience.”
He said if it does become a reality, “it won’t include the same schools. We want to spread the wealth.”
That could leave the door open for a matchup between rivals Maine and New Hampshire.
“I don’t want to insult anybody by leaving them out. But that would be a marquee game,” said Bertagna.
The game between Boston University and Boston College was a sellout (38,472) after the New Hampshire-Northeastern women’s game attracted 6,889.
Bertagna said they made money off the venture, and it was divided up among all the Hockey East schools.
He wouldn’t disclose the amount, but he said it wasn’t a large amount.
Bertagna said there would have to be a lot of details to be worked out, including having the teams involved re-arrange their schedules.
“It would take on a lot of expense. You’d have to compensate the team that gives up a home game and you’d have to put people up in hotels. We didn’t have hotel costs the last time,” said Bertagna.
University of Maine coach Tim Whitehead and UNH coach Dick Umile would love to see the game become a reality.
“It’s a game we’d love to play,” said Whitehead. “If it does come to fruition, we’d be very excited about it. And I think it would sell out.”
He said the game between Boston College and Boston University was a “slam-dunk” for success, but he feels the rivalry between Maine and New Hampshire is just as intense.
“It’s as good as any rivalry in college hockey,” said Whitehead.
“It would be awesome,” said Umile. “Our rivalry hasn’t gone on as long as BU and BC, but it doesn’t take a back seat to any (rivalry).”
Bertagna said he would like to have a set of games every other year and that there is no timetable for when a decision will be made.
“We didn’t announce the last game until August,” said Bertagna, who pointed out that he had to sign four different contracts to ensure the last set of games were played.