Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Is It Hockey Season Yet?

Well, the Women's World Cup is over.

The next Olympics don't start for slightly more than a year. What else is there to talk about in the summer then?

There's the old standby of the District 12 Little League tournament.

TigerBlog's introduction to the newspaper business came nearly 36 years ago, when he began covering high school football. He went through the entire academic year on the high school beat, and then when June rolled around, he asked the same basic question.

What else is there to talk about in the summer then?

He was told that the answer was Little League.

He had no idea how big the District 12 Little League tournament was back then in the Mercer County area, not until he spent a few weeks covering games and seeing the huge crowds. He was startled by it more than anything else at first, until he just came to accept it as the norm.

When TB's friend and former colleague David Rosenfeld first started working at Princeton, he too was taken aback by the extraordinary number of column inches devoted to the district Little League tournament. In fact, it started when David walked into TB's office carrying the newspaper and asking the question "What's huh-ter-buh?"

"Huh-ter-buh?" TB asked.

Then he looked and saw what David meant. There was a headline that said "HTRBA Advances In District 12."

HTRBA. That was one of the Hamilton Township teams.

Maybe it's because of that background that TB still finds himself interested in who wins the tournament each summer. As such, he was hanging on Rich Fisher's tweets Sunday as Fish was updating the final day - while he was also giving commentary for the videostream.

As it turns out, Bordentown defeated Sunnybrae to win and advance to the state tournament. Bordentown's win was delayed by rain Saturday, leading Fish to write this: "It took two days, but Bordentown finished up a tense and thrilling District 12 Little League tournament."

One question for Fish, by the way - Aren't they all tense and thrilling?

So that's District 12 Little League for 2019.

And again, what is there to talk about in the summer?

Hockey, of course.

The Princeton hockey schedules for the 2019-20 season were announced yesterday. Between the two teams, there will be 29 home regular season games, which is a lot of opportunities to see the Tigers play.

If it seems like hockey season is a long way away, it isn't.

In fact, there's a little more than three months until the puck drops for the Princeton women, who are coming off a huge 2018-19, one that saw the Tigers win the Ivy League title and get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

The encore season begins Oct. 25 and 26 with a pair of home games against Syracuse, and there will also be a pair of home games against St. Anselm in early January. There are also the 11 home ECAC league games.

Princeton only plays two non-league road games, but it's quite a road trip. The Tigers will venture to Las Vegas for a pair of December games against Ohio State.

The 2019-20 season will mark the sophomore year of the national Freshman of the Year from last year, Sarah Fillier, who led Division I in points per game and assists per game, and Maggie Connors, who was second in Division I in goals per game and power play goals.

As for the men, they have a road trip even further than the women, as they'll play in, of all places, Northern Ireland.

The event is called The Friendship Four, which will now be in its fifth year. It brings four U.S. college teams to Belfast in the early season, and this year it'll be Princeton against Colgate and Merrimack (New Hampshire is the fourth team who will be there).

The game against Colgate won't count in the ECAC standings. In fact, Princeton will play Colgate eight days before the game in Northern Ireland as part of the ECAC trip to Colgate and Cornell.

Princeton will open its season at St. Cloud, who spent a lot of time last season as the No. 1 team in the country. There's also a two-game series at home against Colorado College, whom Princeton last played in 1990.

Princeton's men are a year removed from the ECAC championship and the NCAA tournament.

Hockey in the summer?

Like TB said, it'll be here soon enough.

1 comment:

D '82 said...

TB, four years ago, I left a comment suggesting a few topics for your summer columns. (Left comment on 6/12/15; your last response on 8/28/15.) You predictably knocked those pitches out of the park, so here are some more ideas that you might consider to be in your strike zone.

Greatest games or events you've witnessed, considering their historical context (last time, you answered exclusive of historical context)
Most improbable team or individual achievements (other than comebacks, which we covered)
Saddest or most bitter you've been due to Princeton sports
Most nervous moments you've had, in-game or otherwise
Most extreme emotions other than happy, sad or nervous (For instance, I think that arguably your best column ever was describing what went through your mind when you inputted the official scorer's entry for your daughter's ground ball. As another example, when I attended Princeton Stadium's 1998 inaugural game against Cornell, the pre-game festivities included football alumni marching onto the field beneath their class banners. Watching the history unfold in front of me, I started to tear up. My girlfriend at the time, a gritty street-smart New Yorker, saw me getting choked up and looked at me quizzically. I felt the need to explain myself and quietly said, "This makes me feel part of something bigger than myself." Within a month, we broke up. I think she literally thought to herself, "Any man who would come close to crying at a football game is not a good long-term match for me.")