One of the more time consuming tasks of the high school hockey season is securing ice time in the Garden State’s various venues. What’s tougher is when you have your sites set on more grandiose locale than the neighborhood ice rink … like Yankee Stadium for instance.
Since August, CBA and their NJSIAA rival Don Bosco Prep have been in talks with the New Jersey Devils and the franchise’s Manager of Amateur Hockey Operations, Jason Romano, about participating in the NHL’s 2014 Stadium Series, a string of regular-season national hockey league games played at various outdoor arenas, including a game between the Devils and New York Rangers on Jan. 26 at Yankee Stadium.
On Tuesday afternoon, the discussion was finalized and those wheels set in motion more than five months prior had produced a favorable decision: CBA and Don Bosco Prep are headed to the Bronx on Jan. 31 to face off at the ballpark in the Bronx.
“The kids have been excited about it for a while, even about the rumor that there was an outside chance it might be happening,” said CBA coach Ryan Bogan. “Thankfully Jason Romano and the Devils were able to work it out with the NHL and the Yankees, and we were able to find a time that worked for both us and Don Bosco. The kids are pumped.”
Though Bogan did acknowledge the unique opportunity these two storied programs were receiving, he was quick to note the playoff implications this meeting may hold.
“This isn’t just a memory-making game, it’s a game that could determine seeding for the rest of the season, and that’s what makes it so much more intense,” Bogan said. “This will essentially be a prep game for the Prudential Center (home of the NJSIAA state finals). That’s how our guys are going to use it … as a game to prepare for what matters most.”
The Colts’ Branden van Riemsdyk will be the second member of his family to take part in the 2014 Stadium Series, as his eldest brother James, a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the U.S. Olympic Team, scored a goal on New Year’s Day in a 3-2 defeat of the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium in front of a capacity Big House crowd.
With today’s unveiling, the University of New Hampshire-bound senior and Yankees fan recognizes how special an opportunity this is, however, much like Bogan, he’s also aware of the stakes.
“After seeing all the stuff on 24/7 (TV series on HBO) and watching the game, you have an idea of what it’s all about and know it’ll be a good time,” van Riemsdyk said. “But especially playing in such a meaningful game against Don Bosco, that will make it even more fun.”
As well as CBA and Don Bosco, the NJSIAA will also see Chatham, St. Peter’s Prep, and Delbarton take to the ice at Yankee Stadium.
While CBA and Don Bosco will drop the puck at 1:15 p.m. on the 31st, followed by Chatham and St. Peter’s at 5:45 p.m., Delbarton will clash with the fifth-ranked team in the state of Massachusetts, Catholic Memorial, on Feb. 1 with a start time tentatively scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
However, before these teams head to the Bronx, top-ranked Delbarton will travel to No. 3 CBA tonight for a 5 p.m. face-off at the Jersey Shore Arena in Wall.