April 5, 2007

Men’s Hockey to Play B.U. at MSG

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As “the world’s most famous arena,” Madison Square Garden in New York City has hosted some of the classic sports battles of the last century. Now, it has the chance to host another, and rejuvenate one of college hockey’s oldest and fiercest rivalries in the process.
The men’s hockey team will play Boston University at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24 — two days after Thanksgiving — according to the arena’s website.
“We’ve been working on the terms for quite some time, so we’re extremely excited,” said men’s hockey head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “We’re really looking forward to this. Obviously, it’s going to be a great game with one of our historic, traditional rivals. And to play down in New York City is a tremendous experience, not just for our players I think, but for our alumni and students, and other people who might be in New York City at that time.”
The Cornell and B.U. men’s hockey teams have been rivals since the 1960s, when both squads were members of the ECACHL. Between 1967 and 1977, Cornell and B.U. won the ECACHL title five times each, facing each other in the league final twice — with a 4-3 Cornell win in 1967 and a 4-1 BU win in 1972. The two teams also faced off in the NCAA championship twice, with Cornell winning, 4-1, in 1967, and falling, 4-0, in 1972. B.U. left the ECACHL in 1984 to join the Hockey East conference.
“Every kid’s dream is to play in the NHL, and to play in a storied NHL arena like Madison Square Garden is kind of like all of our dreams coming true,” said men’s hockey junior and assistant captain Topher Scott of the team’s reaction to the news. “The Rangers play there, and all of our favorite players and favorite teams have played there. And, we get to step on the same ice as Wayne Gretzky has and a bunch of our heroes growing up.”
Tickets are listed as ranging from $15 to $49, but a message states that they have not yet gone on sale. Although the number of seats for an NHL event at the arena is usually 18,200, it’s unclear how many tickets will be available.
“I know a lot of us haven’t played in front of that many people before,” Scott said, noting the team’s excitement at getting an opportunity to do so.
An official announcement from Cornell and B.U. is expected next week.