Gloucester High hockey coach Don Lowe said the game brought out, for two periods at least, his team’s best effort of the season. And the Fishermen’s game with Rockport brought as big a crowd as either team has seen to the Dorothy Talbot Rink — for a 6 p.m. faceoff on a Wednesday night.
So while the Fishermen dominated the game en route to a 7-3 win — and likely would have done the same in most recent years — we can only hope it won’t be another 22 years before these teams get together for a matchup that can only help hockey on Cape Ann in the years to come.
Yes, there are some flaws to a Gloucester-Rockport hockey “rivalry.” For one thing, the “Rockport High” Vikings also include players from Manchester Essex and Ipswich high schools as part of a co-op agreement, limiting any true city vs. town sensibilities. But the fact that most of the players on both teams came up playing side by side in the Cape Ann Youth Hockey program, and the fact that both teams call the Talbot Rink home for games and practices alike make it a natural for an annual renewal. As Gloucester’s Mike Muniz put it, “it was like pond skating with your friends, and we wanted to win so bad.”
That kind of high school sports get-together, for the players, coaches and fans, is well worth repeating. Let’s hope the schools and their athletic directors sign on for a return engagement — perhaps even on a Saturday night — for next year and beyond.