NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

April 5, 2012

Graf Rink locker rooms in need of upgrade

The Newburyport and Triton hockey teams spend all winter as foes. Starting Saturday, they'll spend the spring and summer as partners.

The introductory stages of a project to add two new locker rooms to the Graf Rink will continue Saturday when the Newburyport and Triton teams join together for an EWaste drop-off fundraiser at the Graf Rink. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., players, coaches and parents will be collecting computers, VCRs, TVs and other electronics. XTechnology Global, based out of Peabody, will pay for each electronic item, and the proceeds will benefit a proposed project to install two new locker rooms at the Graf Rink.

This winter, Newburyport and Triton battled each other in the Cape Ann League standings all season, with Triton eventually outlasting Newburyport en route to a league title. The CAL rivals played two separate games to a tie, but no spectator was left unfulfilled as the players delivered 90 minutes of the most intense, hard-hitting hockey played at the Graf Rink over the last five years.

But here's the problem with the Graf Rink.

The enjoyable experience for the players always ends when they file off the ice.

Taking Triton-Newburyport games as an example, coaches from both teams entered both games stressing game plans of being physical. It's hockey, and the team that hits the hardest often ends up the victor.

The players followed the game plan for 15 minutes each period, and when the horn sounded, they filed to the locker rooms. At the Graf Rink, that means filing down the same narrow hallway to two rooms separated by a swinging door.

Coaches screamed instructions to the players between periods, and those were often audible to the opposing team. Players could talk trash to opposing players without any difficulty, and then both teams would file back onto the ice and play another period.

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