BOSTON — The University of Maine men’s ice hockey game, scheduled for Saturday against Boston University at Fenway Park, will now start at 3 p.m., according to a UMaine news release.
The change is due to rain in the forecast for Saturday evening and overnight in Boston.
The Northeastern vs. UMass Lowell game will now start at noon with gates opening at 11 a.m.
It’s the second time change for the Frozen Fenway games, as the times were moved up on Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. to avoid overlapping with the 8:15 p.m. Saturday start of the AFC playoff game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots.
“The weather forecast indicated that the rain will get heavier as we get further into the night. When water pools, the puck just stops,” said Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna. “So we moved the starting times as early as possible without compromising the players.
“The ice could have been ready earlier but we didn’t want any of the teams to have to arrive before 10 a.m. That’s too early,” added Bertagna.
He also noted that Maine’s 3 p.m. starting time still gives Black Bear fans time to get to Fenway.
Sunday is still reserved as the make-up date in case the rain comes earlier and Bertagna noted that the Sunday game times would revert back to the original Saturday times of 3 p.m. and 6:30. “You can’t play too early on a sunny day because the sun gets in the goalies’ eyes,” explained Bertagna.
He explained that there are three scenarios to deal with poor weather.
The first one calls for moving the game times on Saturday; the second is for Sunday to be used as the makeup date and the third, if Saturday and Sunday are wiped out, is to reschedule the games at the rinks of the home teams which, in this case, are Northeastern and Boston University.
“It would have been relatively easy for Lowell and Northeastern to reschedule because they’re a half-hour apart but Maine would have had to come back down to Boston and find a date at Agganis [Arena] which would have been more difficult.” Bertagna said.
Citigroup is the title sponsor for the event, which involves a cooperative effort between the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management, Hockey East and the city of Boston.
“The Red Sox and Sam Kennedy, in particular, have been terrific,” said Bertagna referring to the president of Fenway Sports Management and executive vice-president and chief operating officer of the Red Sox. “I can’t imagine what these types of situations would be like if you didn’t have a good partner.”
Bertagna said despite all the angst over the past 24 hours, “I feel pretty good about things.”
Boston’s convention and business bureau reported that the 2012 Frozen Fenway event attracted more than 90,000 people and $28.8 million in Boston-area visitor spending, according to a story in Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal,