It’s been dubbed the “Battle of the Border”. The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs vs the Vermont Lumberjacks in two Eastern Hockey League games at historic Notre Dame Arena in Berlin. The games will be played on Friday, Nov. 14 at 8:15 p.m. and again on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 1 p.m. The city of Berlin is no stranger to hockey and Notre Dame Arena has seen its fair share of meaningful hockey games. The rink was originally built in 1947 and has acted as hosts for the people of Berlin ever since. It has been the home of Berlin Youth and High School hockey since it’s early days as well. It was also once home of the Berlin Maroons a semi-pro team from 1969-1971 in the New England Hockey League and then a junior team in the New England Junior Hockey League for the 1975-76 season. Now it will be home to the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs for one very special weekend.
The Jr. Monarchs and Lumberjacks play out of the EHL North division and while the Monarchs have one of the best records in the league at 13-1 there only blemish came at the hands of Vermont on opening night back in September. Both teams will be giving up a home date in their own arena and traveling over two hours each to play in Berlin. Why?
Head Coach and General Manager of the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs Ryan Frew said, “Because it’s good for hockey. It’s good for Berlin, and it’s great for our two hockey clubs. We are taking our show on the road to one of the best hockey towns in the northeast. We are hoping for a big turnout. I think the community will really get behind this game…they love their hockey as much as we do. We are thrilled that they extended an invitation for us to play up north. Connor Jewett who is a big part of our team this year was a fan favorite when he played for Berlin High School. Now they can see him again…at home…playing for one of the top junior programs in the country. Its a very special treat for everyone…including us. We are hoping to see the people of Berlin and surrounding towns in full support for the Jr. Monarchs and their local boy. I’d encourage anyone looking for something to do next Friday night and Saturday afternoon to come on down and pack the barn. That’s a great place to play when they get wild. We are ready to put on a show that they deserve.”
In addition to these games being division games and the fact that the Jr. Monarchs looking for a little revenge after the team’s first meeting…there is also an added bonus for one Jr. Monarch. First year forward No. 71 Connor Jewett is from Berlin, and is a year removed from Berlin High School. Jewett has thrived early on with the Monarchs scoring 5 goals and adding 5 assist in 14 games including a big two goal performance in a 4-1 win against rival Northern Cyclones back on Oct. 5.
Connor added this about heading back home for the weekend series…”I’m really looking forward to going back home to play. It’s going to be really exciting. It will be fun to play in front of the fans again. It’s a cool thing for Berlin Youth Hockey and my town. I hope the fans really come out and I’m sure that they will…they are great fans. The people up there enjoy supporting the community and this is like a new community for them. It’s a homecoming for me of sorts, I never thought I’d get to come back home after I graduated from high school. It’s going to be so nice to play in the comforts of home again. It will be really cool to play in front of my friends and family who have supported me all these years. I can’t wait to show them what I have become and how much I have improved during my time with the Monarchs. I’m proud to call Berlin my home and now I can bring them a special treat. It’s just really neat. I’m looking forward to next Friday…I just can’t wait.”
Both teams are looking forward to the experience and the atmosphere that Berlin will undoubtably offer. They hope to bring back some of that old time hockey feel for the folks of Berlin. A great tradition of hockey still lingers at the Notre Dame Arena and these EHL match-ups hope to get her rocking again that weekend.
As if league points weren’t enough to motivate the two clubs, the two teams have agreed to play for a trophy of sorts…a wooden carved bear that represents both states. The two game set will be an aggregate scoring format. The overall combined score for the two games will take the trophy. You don’t want to miss this. It’s going to be spectacular.