Former Andover High School hockey players young and old will soon relive their days as Golden Warriors by lacing up their skates in the third annual AHS alumni hockey game.

Following the 4 p.m. Andover High hockey game against Billerica on Jan. 5, 30 alumni skaters and three former goalies will take the ice at the Lawrence Valley Forum to do battle. The puck will drop at 6:30.

A three-member committee for the alumni game, Dan Feeley, Chris Patten and Brendan Sheehy, received requests to play in excess of the 30-man roster limit, plus goalies, and had to begin establishing a waiting list.

In the previous games, the teams were split up: odd graduation year versus even years, or the 1990s versus all other years. This year, how the squads will be created has not been announced yet.

Graduates from as long ago as 1980 and as recent as 2007 will participate to raise money for the Andover High hockey program. A $50 donation to the Hat Trick Club, AHS' hockey program booster club, was required to help cover the cost of ice time, with the remaining money going to support the current hockey program.

There will be a post-game reception at Dylan's restaurant downtown, where organizers will hold a silent auction, with all proceeds going to the AHS hockey program.

The alumni game, and support for the hockey program, have grown in recent years.

"Four years ago, we were trying to raise money, along with the Hat Trick Club, but there was not much alumni support," said alumni game committee member Brendan Sheehy. "So, we put (the alumni game) together. The first year was extremely successful. We had 40 (interested) skaters and six goalies."

The roster was cut to 30 skaters, plus goalies to allow more shifts per period for the participants. Sheehy believes the smaller roster will bring a more exciting brand of hockey.

The money from the game and silent auction allows the committee to buy the varsity hockey squad wind suits. Proceeds have helped with a locker room and new gloves. The majority of the money helps pay for the junior varsity team's ice time.

"The JVs are really going to be the ones to feed the varsity club," said Sheehy. "So, we buy a ton of ice time for them."

Sheehy believes the additional ice time for the JV squad led directly to Andover's pursuit of a championship last season. AHS won the Division 2 North championship, and lost the state final.

The alumni game committee hopes the Jan. 5 turnout will be large enough for them to play more than one game.

"If you play in this year's game, you have first refusal (for next year). We will also set up a sign-up sheet for next year's game for those who aren't in this year's event," said Sheehy. "If there are over 50 players (to sign up), we will plan to have two games going simultaneously."

This is more than just a game, said Sheehy. Everyone is invited to come to watch and proceed to the silent auction afterward. Sheehy considers the events to be like a reunion.

"It's a great social event, with a great atmosphere. We have a lot of fun with it and people seem to like it," said Sheehy. "Without Dan (Feeley) and Chris (Patten), we couldn't have done this. They have played key roles in putting this together."





BOX

2008 AHS alumni game roster:

Earl Abdoo 1986

Todd Allard 1992

Dave Bartle 1986

Colin Brennan 2007

John Brodbine 1993

Derek Camarota 1990

Steve Donovan 1987

Dan Feeley 1992

George Heseltine 1986

Steve Johnson 2003

Hugh Maginnis 1988

Mike Moriarty 1988

Tucker Mullin 2007

Joe Nasta 2003

Chris Patten 1988

Chris Pothier 1992

Bob Pothier 1986

Matt Pothier 1989

Andrew Santos 2003

Steve Seero 2003

Brendan Sheehy 1994

Shane Smith 1985

Phil Smith 1994

Andy Weiner 1989

Matt Young 1987

Mike Corey 2003

Dave Deloury 1981

Dana Difiore 1995

Mark Boilard 2003

Chris McAnally 1989

Robert Leber 1982

Bill Eaton 1980

Michele Distefeno 1990



IF YOU GO

What: Third Annual AHS Alumni Hockey Game

Where: Lawrence Valley Forum, 654 S. Union St.

When: Saturday, Jan. 5, 6:30 p.m.

How much: Free



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