While fans of the schools involved (and those not involved) will certainly focus on the change in teams, there are a few other differences from the first Frozen Fenway, two years ago in 2010.
First, the 2010 weather made the phrase Frozen Fenway truly apt. Family members of mine who attended both ends of the doubleheader were still defrosting in March. This year, however, it’s a balmy 58 degrees out.
(In this week’s Hockey East column, Jim Connelly spoke to Commissioner Joe Bertagna about the weather and ice conditions. Bertagna made reference to mid-forties temperatures this past weekend working out just fine. We’ll see if high-fifties pushed things past the tipping point.)
A second difference is the placement of the playing surface. I could be wrong about this, but I’m pretty sure that the 2010 surface angled more out toward left field from first base. This year, it’s perfectly first base to third base.
As for the teams, it’s an all-men’s doubleheader, unlike last time’s women’s early game followed by the men. That said, Vermont – Massachusetts doesn’t match the intensity of Boston University – Boston College. We’ll see if Maine – New Hampshire cranks it up in the nightcap — I suspect they will — but BU-BC is a high bar to hurdle.
I will add this anecdote. Some Vermont and UMass fans got in the elevator with me as I headed to the press box. The Vermont fans got off on the second floor and despite the attendant’s repeated instructions to turn right, the Catamount fans turned left. The UMass fans said not a word before getting off on the next floor. Now tell me, if that had been BU-BC, what are the odds that there would have been no snide remarks about not knowing one’s right from one’s left?
[Update: Jim Connelly pointed out to me that the first Frozen Fenway was in 2010, not 2011 as I originally wrote. I knew that on one level but… well, I guess at my age time flies by at twice the speed. Let the snide remarks about age proceed.]