For the first time since 2006, the St. Thomas Tommies will venture to New England for a pair of preseason tilts against NCAA Division 1 competition October 3rd and 4th.
First up for the Tommies on Saturday, October 3rd (8pm AST) will be a matchup that the hockey historians among us will enjoy, as the Green and Gold venture into Boston's venerable Matthews Arena for a game against the Northeastern University Huskies. The Huskies are coming off a strong 2008 campaign which saw them compile an impressive 18-6-3 record, good for a 2nd place finish in the always tough Hockey East conference behind eventual NCAA champion Boston University. The Huskies were tossed from tournament play by the Cornell Big Red.
Matthews Arena is a hockey traditionalists' dream. It stands as the world's oldest hockey arena - a week after the Tommies' trip, the ol' barn will celebrate 100 years since construction began. Matthews is the original home to the Boston Bruins, as well as the WHA's New England Whalers and the NBA's Boston Celtics, and has hosted such legendary sports figures as Gene Tunney, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis and Babe Ruth. The "Babe" was even known to strap on the blades for an occasional game of shinny while pitching for the Red Sox. Much more on the Matthews Arena's history can be found here.
After tangling with the Huskies, the Tommies will head to Fairfield, Connecticut to faceoff against the Sacred Heart University Pioneers of the Atlantic Hockey Association on Sunday, October 4th (3pm AST). The game will mark the 60th anniversary of a game between St. Thomas University - still located in Chatham - and Sacred Heart that ended in a 4-4 tie during the 1949-50 season. (Ed. Note: It has been brought to our attention that Sacred Heart University of Fairfield, Conn. has not been in existence long enough to have participated in the previously mentioned game. We have no reason to question the veracity of the original source, but the reference was obviously to a different Sacred Heart. We apologize for the error, and welcome any enlightment of the Sacred Heart of 1949-50). The Pioneers finished a challenging 2008 - 09 season with a 11-23-4 record and were eliminated in the Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinals by Air Force. Sacred Heart is the second largest Catholic university in New England.
This trip should prove to be more than just another couple of hockey games for STU players. This is a team-building opportunity as the Tommies test themselves against a different brand of competition and the potential opportunity to showcase their talents to New England area pro scouts. The players should also enjoy the attractions and history of Boston, and the beauty of the New England region.