For the first time in more than 30 years, the annual Canal Cup hockey game between Bourne High School and Sandwich High School will be played in the middle of the afternoon, rather than the early evening.
Officials from both schools have agreed to change the time of the February 2 game at Gallo Ice Arena on Sandwich Road from its usual 8 PM start to 3:30 PM.
Sandwich High School Principal Ellin J. Booras said that Bourne High School Principal Amy K. Cetner and Athletic Director Scott J. Ashworth approached her at the start of the school year about changing the time of the game.
Ms. Cetner referred all questions about the time change to Mr. Ashworth. Mr. Ashworth commented that the change was made "to make sure that everyone in attendance has a positive experience."
"Ninety-five percent of the people who attend are doing the right thing, but then there's the 5 percent who are knuckleheads that are not doing the right thing," he said.
Sandwich High Athletic Director Martin S. Cosgrove confirmed that Ms. Cetner and Mr. Ashworth suggested the change at the beginning of the school year. "Some time in late September, early October," he said. Mr. Cosgrove said the primary reason for the change in game time was to cut down on bad behavior among spectators attending the game.
The bad behavior Mr. Cosgrove referred to ranged from underage drinking before the game to shouting profanities and taunting.
Bourne Police Chief Dennis R. Woodside said that his department was not consulted about the time change, that it was a decision made by the schools and rink management, but the police are okay with the decision. Chief Woodside said that the time change might cut down on the number of people who choose to drink before the game and become overly rowdy. He could not, however, recall any specific instance of anyone being arrested or assaulted during a Canal Cup game.
Ninety-five percent of the people who attend are doing the right thing, but then there's the 5 percent who are knuckleheads that are not doing the right thing.
The chief said that there will be four Bourne police officers assigned to the game, as well as two other officers in cruisers that will handle traffic flow onto Sandwich Road following the game. He said that there will probably be a Sandwich police presence at the game, as well.
John H. Hickey, manager of the Gallo Ice Arena, said that the change in time is of no consequence to him.
"I just sell the ice," Mr. Hickey said, explaining that he just wanted to accommodate the high schools.
"The school called me up and asked if we could have the game at a certain time and I said yes," he said. He did say that he could see it possible that some people might get upset over the change. "When history happens on a certain day and time, they don't like if there's change," he said. He noted, however, that, over the years, the game has been held at 7 PM and 7:30 PM, as well as the traditional 8 PM starting time, with no negative reaction. He also said that he has not witnessed any problems in the past that would have necessitated a change in game time.
For 30 years, the Canal Cup has been one of the most highly anticipated events of the school year for both high schools. It was originally conceived by then-Bourne hockey coach Paul Giandomenico as a reflection of the annual Beanpot hockey tournament between Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University and Harvard University. Mr. Giandomenico played hocked at Boston University from 1969 to 1972. The idea was to have the high schools in Bourne, Sandwich, Falmouth and Barnstable compete. Mr. Hickey, who played in the first ever Canal Cup in 1983 said that there were problems coordinating with Falmouth and Barnstable, so it started off as a Bourne-Sandwich matchup and has stayed that way over the years.
Mr. Hickey said that about 7 or 8 years ago he had things lined up so that Falmouth and Barnstable would finally get involved, but by then the border war rivalry was so strong, it was decided to keep it as just Bourne and Sandwich.
The first Canal Cup game was played in 1983 with Sandwich winning 7-4. Over the years, Sandwich has won more games than Bourne and the record currently stands at 18 wins for Sandwich, 11 for Bourne, with one 1-1 tie in 2005.
The Canal Cup game will be played on Saturday, February 2, at 3:30 PM at Gallo Ice Arena. The annual junior varsity Pup Cup, which is traditionally played before the Canal Cup, will instead be the second game that day, starting at 5:40 PM.