Tag Archives: Dave Babych

WHALE-FEST REPORT

bruce mug shot 1By Bruce Berlet

EAST HARTFORD, CT – Like any sports program, the Trinity College women’s hockey team has written a history in its 13 years, though most of it wasn’t much to pass along for the first decade.

Then four years ago, 11 freshmen from around the country arrived on the Hartford campus hoping to rewrite that mostly forgettable history.

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BABYCH BOYS ADDED TO WHALE BOWL

logoHartford, CT …  Whalers Sports and Entertainment announced today that brothers Dave and Wayne Babych will be among the featured players for the Hartford Whalers legends vs. Boston Bruins legends game February 19, 2011 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

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FROM THE CREASE with Bruce Berlet

Bruce Headshot

By Bruce Berlet

 Alexa Guglielmi grew up a Hartford Whalers fan, though she didn’t get to see her favorite team much before they pulled anchor and headed to North Carolina.

But the parents of the Trinity College women’s hockey team captain were longtime Whalers supporters who tried to get Alexa to the Civic (now XL) Center as much as possible – for good reason.

Alexa’s uncle, defenseman Dave Babych, played for the Whalers from 1985 until early in the 1990-91 season, a stretch that included the two most successful campaigns in franchise history, 1985-86 and ’86-87. In fact, many considered the acquisition of Babych from the Winnipeg Jets for right wing Ray Neufeld a major reason that the Whalers went to the next level for several seasons.

“I wasn’t even born when he scored against Montreal late in Game 6 (in 1986),” said a smiling Alexa, a senior from Rocky Hill who visited with her uncle on Sunday. “I played between periods of Whalers games when I was in mini-mites, so I was really excited when we first found out we were going to play in the Whalers Hockey Fest. My parents knew before I even knew, and they didn’t even tell me about it.”

As if competing in an event hosted by the future Connecticut Whale wasn’t special enough, Guglielmi and her Bantams teammates will be playing archrival Wesleyan in one of 30-35 outdoor games at Rentschler Field during Whalers Hockey Fest 2011 on Feb. 11-23. The Trinity-Wesleyan women’s game is an offshoot of a men’s game between the schools on Feb. 15. The women are scheduled to play at 4 p.m. and the men at 8:15 p.m.

“I played at a couple of different outdoor rinks when I was on a boys’ team, but I can’t remember exactly where,” Guglielmi said. “But this will be a lot different.”

Regardless of how the game came about, the coaches and players said they felt it was a terrific chance to expand their hockey – and life – horizons.

“I thought it was a great opportunity if we could jump on board,” Trinity coach Andy McPhee said. “It’s an once-in-a-lifetime thing, especially for our seniors, who have been a pretty special group. We kept it a secret to make sure it was really going to happen. We had to get some league (New England Small College Athletic Conference) approval in order for us to play because these are two conference games so they count for the standings so we had to make sure everything was OK.

“We’re very happy, and the athletic director informed both teams at the same time. For the girls to have a chance to play outdoors is great.”

Wesleyan’s Molly Friedmann and Jill Reynolds haven’t played outdoors since they were kids growing up in Minnesota. But the co-captains of the Wesleyan women’s hockey team welcome the opportunity to go back to their roots against an intrastate rival.

“I think it’s going to be really fun, probably because I’m never going to be able to do it again,” said Friedmann, a senior co-captain and left wing from Edina, Minn.

“I’m just really excited about it because I think it’ll be a really cool experience,” said Reynolds, a senior co-captain and right wing from Wayvata, Minn.,

Friedmann and Reynolds played on the same line last season, but since the Cardinals didn’t start practice until Monday, coach Jodi McKenna was quick to say it wasn’t a certainty this season.

This is a Wesleyan home game, but McKenna felt it worth playing about a half-hour from the Cardinals’ rink in Middletown.

“Why not?,” McKenna said. “I had no idea that we were going to play. It started out on the men’s side, and we tried to figure out how we could have some equal representation during the Hockey Fest. I guess it’s all in who you know, and I think a couple of people involved with the Hockey Fest knew the coaches on the men’s side. Then through that they decided to do something with the women’s teams.”

McKenna is back with her team after a year’s sabbatical with the U.S. women’s national team, which lost to host Canada in the Winter Olympics gold-medal game in Vancouver in February. McKenna worked with several longtime national team members from Connecticut, Angela Ruggerio and Julie Chu.

“Angie will probably keep playing until they tell her to stop,” a smiling McKenna said of Ruggerio, a four-time Olympian who was appointed to the evaluation committee that will inspect the three cities competing to host the 2018 Winter Games.

McKenna and the national team practiced outdoors one day at Fenway Park in Boston, where the Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime on New Year’s Day in the third NHL Winter Classic.

“I had done some other events with the national team, but it was tough being away from these guys,” McKenna said, pointing at her co-captains. “But it was a rewarding experience. Doing that (practice at Fenway) and having a rink in this kind of environment is a lot of fun. It should be really exciting for the girls.”

In addition to the Trinity-Wesleyan men’s and women’s games, the greatest hockey event in Connecticut history will feature a Connecticut Whale-Providence Bruins AHL game, a Whalers-Bruins alumni game, an NHL Legends game commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1986 NHL All-Star Game in Hartford, dozens of college, high school, prep school and youth games and a “Whaler Village,” featuring exhibitors, games and the Whalers Mobile Hall of Fame.

Ticket packages are available via the CTWhale web page at www.ctwhale.com or by calling 860-728-3366.