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Sports

March 16, 2012

Local hockey coaches to face off against Bruins

NEWBURYPORT — It takes a good sense of humor and a healthy dose of bravado to lace up your skates and face off against the likes of famed Bruins winger Rick Middleton and his team of "Black and Yellow" alums.

In the spirit of good fun, that's just what a group of local coaches and dads will do tomorrow at 1 p.m., when they take to the Graf Rink to battle some of the most talented and storied players in Bruins history.

While any good bookie or statistician would pick the Bruins' potential lineup of Middleton, Terry O'Reilly, Ken Hodge and Bruce Shoebottom to emerge victorious in tomorrow's game, Newburyport Youth Hockey League President Shawn Richmond is predicting a win for the young players enrolled in the city's youth hockey program. And that's what it's all about for the coaches and for the Bruins players, who still remember the joy of playing youth hockey on their local pond or rink.

"We've had some budget restraints due to some price increases at the rinks we utilize," said Richmond. "Every one of them has gone up in price over the prior year. Even the Valley Hockey League that we play in has increased their fees."

Since this year's price hike was steeper than past increases, Richmond said he had been looking for ways to curb costs without placing the burden for the increases on parents in the system. But until two months ago, it looked like there would be no other way. Then he met someone who offered to help.

"I was introduced to Rick Middleton at a Bruins game through Kenny Hodge," said Richmond. "And Rick is very familiar with the Newburyport area, and indicated he'd love to have the opportunity to do an alumni game up here. I jumped right on board with that."

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