* Updated 1/9/14
Two of the most storied high school programs in the Northeast will square off Saturday, Feb. 1 as part of the NHL’s Yankee Stadium Series when long-time Massachusetts power Catholic Memorial meets six-time defending New Jersey Private School Champion Delbarton at 5:30 p.m.
The schools have played on numerous occasions dating back to 1993 and long-time CM Coach Bill Hanson has aided current Delbarton Coach Bruce Shatel with arranging games in
Massachusetts. One of those trips takes place Jan. 18-19 when the New Jersey No. 1 Green Wave (4-0-1) visit the Bay State for games against Malden Catholic and prep power Dexter School.
“I have a good relationship with Bruce, thus the invite,” Hanson said. “It’s obviously a great honor for Catholic Memorial, as we get a chance to represent Massachusetts high school hockey, Catholic Memorial, the Catholic Conference and especially, in a certain way, the Boston Red Sox. I will try and get support and permission to represent them in some way.”
Shatel and Delbarton had been exploring the possibility of playing at Yankee Stadium for the past six weeks. The head of Delbarton’s booster club, Mkike Gilfillan, is involved with the Yankees on a business level and he and Shatel had been working on it together to make it a possibility. The Delbarton coach knew right away which opponent he would try to secure.
“I contacted CM to play,” Shatel said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Bill Hanson and his program. They play the game right way and he is a class act. It was an easy decision to ask him first.”
Catholic Memorial is the only Massachusetts school participating in the Stadium Series. The Knights’ game against Delbarton will be the only high school game of the day. On Friday, January 31st, four other New Jersey teams will play – Don Bosco Prep vs. Christian Brothers Academy, and St. Peter’s Prep vs. Chatham.
CM has won 17 Massachusetts State titles since 1986 — four in Division One and 13 of the 23 1A crowns since that tournament began in 1991. The Knights (5-1-0) are currently ranked No. 5 heading into Saturday’s game at No. 13. St. John’s Prep.
Hanson expects a large CM alumni presence in The Bronx for the game. “Many have settled in the Tri-State area,” he said.
Catholic Memorial was scheduled to play Catholic Conference rival BC High on February 1st, so that game will have to be changed.
Shatel is also the baseball coach at Delbarton, so playing at the famed Yankee Stadium has added meaning for him.
“Being a Yankee fan from childhood, it make it extra special for me,” he said. “I grew up rooting for the Yankees and I go to a handful of games a year with my daughter. It is going to be a great day!”