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RPI Hockey Team Joins Locals for a Celebration in Cohoes

By Jeff Buell

Troy Record, February 18, 2002

COHOES - Coming off a weekend in which they moved closer to gaining a home playoff spot in the upcoming ECAC tournament, the RPI hockey team joined local residents for a day of fun Sunday, giving a little back to those who support them on a weekly basis.

The celebration on Van Schaick Pond commemorated the first game ever played by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which took place Jan. 25, 1902 on Ship Street in Cohoes. All season long, the school has celebrated the 100th anniversary.

The day's activities were quite a sight, as recent warm weather has caused the ice on the pond to melt, causing cracks and puddles. Coming off of two consecutive wins this past weekend, it could not stop the team, as at times it was tough to see who was having more fun - the kids or the college players.

Sophomore goalie Nathan Marsters and freshman Nick Economakos played a game of 10 on two with local children, local stars Matt Murley and Marc Cavosie signed autographs, and to the delight of many, Andrew McPherson and friends went as far as to pull a fish out of the slushy water with their sticks.

With his players literally skating on thin ice, head coach Dan Fridgen could only laugh as he walked around with his daughter on his head.

"Well, as long as nobody falls through and they're having fun, that's great," Fridgen said. "It's too bad the ice conditions couldn't be better. It's all about giving back. The guys are having fun talking with the children and fans who go to the games."

Cohoes Mayor John McDonald was also on hand with his daughter, and was hoping the event would lead to new relationships between the school and the city. Sunday, however, he was pleased to see the smiling faces of kids on the ice.

"I think it's fitting that RPI had its start here over 100 years ago," McDonald said. "The guys are out there today enjoying themselves, there's a lot of kids out there having a great time. Hopefully it can spur some future relationships, and interest in the hockey games."

Cohoes native Eric Cavosie, a junior on the team, remembered the days when he used to skate on Van Schaick Pond, though the ice was a little stronger when he was out there.

"All the time when I was a kid they would plow the ice and put the goals out," Eric said. "We would spend hours out here. It's a little tough out there today though."

Senior captain Steve Munn said he hoped the team would continue its winning ways because he does not want the next two home games to be his last at the Houston Field House. While that is still to be decided in the coming weeks, Sunday was time to play.

"Some teams don't have it as good as us when it comes to having the home crowd behind you, we're definitely blessed," he said of what the fans mean to him. "I love little kids, I remember when I was this age and it meant a lot to me to have guys to look up to. I don't mind one bit coming out here and putting in time, it's great."