Hockey is a passionate sport that tends to attract passionate people. There are moments in a hockey game that will conjure emotions that few experience on a weekly basis: triumph, defeat, passion. Usually when a community plays host to a hockey organization, no matter what level, this kind of passion creates a bond that focuses on the love affair that is mutually shared for the game of hockey. The town of Berlin New Hampshire is that community. This is exactly why the Vermont Lumberjacks Organization and the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs Organization decided to bring the ‘Battle of the Border’ to Notre Dame Arena.
“Last year I had a discussion with the owner of the Lumberjacks, Steve Lary, about doing something special and different. A tradition both teams could share in that was healthy for the two clubs and had some camaraderie,” said Ryan Frew, Head Coach and General Manager of the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs.
“Being from New Hampshire I am familiar with Berlin, and the Notre Dame Arena. I knew it would be a great venue to host this series known as ‘Battle of the Border,’” Frew said. “We wanted to bring the teams to a place where they are passionate about hockey, and passionate about showing up to games and cheering on ANY team. They just love hockey,” Frew said. “We knew it would draw well, and we knew it would get good attention up there. It did last year. It was a great crowd.”
Owner of the Lumberjack’s, Steve Lary, shared Frew’s sentiment.
“Both teams are competing very well at this point in the season and there is great anticipation that this ‘Battle of the Border’ will not disappoint. Last year we had a sell out crowd at the Friday night game and we expect the same this year.”
Both Lary and Frew are intent to make the weekend about fellowship and a mutual love for the game of hockey as well as great competition.
“The players from both teams share a buffet dinner before the game and then lace them up for a hard fought battle just a couple hours later. It doesn’t get better than that! The respect and camaraderie the two programs have for one another makes me proud to be a part of this series. I’m really looking forward to it,” Lary said.
This is the second year the Vermont Lumberjacks and the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs will meet at the Notre Dame Arena. The last time these two teams met for the ‘Battle of the Border’ the Monarchs took the series by winning both games. The first win 6-1 and game two a 4-3 victory for NH in overtime.
The ‘Battle of the Border’ is a two game aggregate scoring series, winner takes all. However, the victor of this series not only earns bragging rights for the next 12 months, but also walks away with the ultimate take home prize; the iconic, wood-carved, Bear Trophy.
“It’s a fun situation any time you put your team on the ice and have the opportunity to win a trophy. It makes it a little extra competitive, it’s a nice trophy,” Lumberjacks’ Head Coach Doc DelCastillo said. “The series happens at a good time of year and it gets the guys excited to go somewhere and play for a trophy.”
The Lumberjacks missed out on the company of ‘The Bear’ last season, and would love the opportunity to make Vermont ‘The Bear’s’ new home.
“The Monarchs have held the coveted "Bear Trophy" for the past year and rumor has it, the "Bear" would like to hibernate a bit farther north this year. We hope to be able to oblige Mr. Bear!” Steve Lary said in conclusion.
The ‘Battle of the Border’ series will take place at Notre Dame Arena, Friday the 18th of December at 7:00pm and Saturday the 19th at 12:00pm.
Notre Dame Arena is located at 15 Hillside Ave Berlin NH 03570. Call 603-723-8883 for details.