A tragedy that brought together two communitties last fall also helped bring out the best in two of the Bay State’s best girls hockey teams at Phillips Andover Monday night.
Colleen Ritzer, the beloved Danvers High School teacher from Andover who was murdered in October, was honored in a contest between her hometown Golden Warriors and the Beverly/Danvers High team.
Both teams wore special pink and white jerseys with the name Ritzer printed on the back. The pink theme, in honor of Ritzer’s favorite color, carried through to their skate laces, stick tape and hair ribbons, too.
The tribute was especially meaningful for Ritzer’s sister, Laura, a senior member of the Golden Warriors varsity girls hockey team.
“The outpouring of support from both communities was incredible. This is probably one of the biggest crowds we’ve played in front of,” Andover coach Liz Keady said.
While Andover held off a furious Beverly comeback to hand the Panthers their first loss of the year, 4-3, for players on both teams, the game was as much about fighting for a win as it was honoring the name on the back of their shirts.
Faculty and students from Danvers High came out to support the cause as well, with donations and raffles going to the Colleen Ritzer Memorial Scholarship Fund.
“The girls really ran with it and it was great for both communities. It goes to show how much Ms. Ritzer meant to them,” Beverly/Danvers High coach Brian Seabury said.