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Even though most of the Harvard sports community is focusing its attention today on The Game in New Haven, the Harvard men's hockey team has to concentrate on its own contest against Yale in Cambridge.
But that doesn't mean they have to be happy about it.
Hockey's version of the Harvard-Yale rivalry (The Other Game?) begins tonight when the Crimson and the Bulldogs take the ice at Bright Center at 7 p.m.
And while the Harvard hockey players know they have an important ECAC game to play, they admit that it is hard not to think about what their missing.
"It's kind of disappointing," Harvard Captain Kevin Sneddon said. "I've never gotten a chance to see The Game."
For at least four years, the ECAC has scheduled Harvard hockey on the same day as the football rivalry. In addition, the team has had to go on the road when The Game is in Cambridge and has been scheduled in Cambridge when The Game is on the road.
Result? Varsity hockey players will never see the most well-attended Harvard athletic contest (a.k.a. The Game.)
"It hasn't really hit me hard until this year," Sneddon said.
The defenseman has three roommates on the football team, and he regrets the fact that he hasn't had the chance to see them play in The Game.
"It's unavoidable, but it's really a shame," Sneddon said.
Sophomore forward Brian Farrell doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to his opinions on the scheduling.
"It really sucks," said Farrell. "I'd kill to see [The Game]. I guess I'm going to wait until after I've graduated to see it."
Farrell, like Sneddon, says that he knows a lot of players on the football team and he wishes that he could see them in action today.
"I thought maybe someone else would mention it [to the ECAC]. Maybe [Athletic Director Bill] Cleary."
Junior forward Matt Mallgrave is less upset about The Game, or lack of it, than his teammates Sneddon or Farrell.
"It's kind of a bummer, but you have to do what you have to do," Mallgrave said. "I guess we'll all just have to wait until we graduate."
I Must Be in the Front Row
With half of Harvard down in New Haven, the players expect that fan turnout tonight will be lower than usual.
"Usually, all of the tickets are sold out by the middle of the week, but I checked [Thursday] and they said that tickets would still be available at game time," said Mallgrave.
Remembering two years ago the last time The Game was also in New Haven, the players expect to have a surge of fans coming to The Other Game as soon as the football game at Yale is over.
"I've talked to about 50 or 60 people who are planning on driving up right after it finishes," said Sneddon. "Hopefully, people will make the effort to come back."
But, at least Mallgrave seems to be able to accept second-billing for the occasion.
"The Harvard-Yale football game is one of the highlights of the entire college football season," said Mallgrave. "To compete with that is kind of hard. We'll just have to play our game."
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