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Mayor’s Cup hockey brings fun and funds to Berkley Ice Arena

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published March 17, 2015

 The fourth annual Mayor’s Cup, presented by the Berkley Youth Hockey Association, will pit students from Anderson Middle School and Norup International School in a friendly non-checking game March 28 at the Berkley Ice Arena.

The fourth annual Mayor’s Cup, presented by the Berkley Youth Hockey Association, will pit students from Anderson Middle School and Norup International School in a friendly non-checking game March 28 at the Berkley Ice Arena.

File photo by Donna Agusti

BERKLEY — Without an official middle school hockey team in Berkley, the students at Anderson Middle School and Norup International School don’t get a chance to represent their schools on a regular basis.

On March 28, however, the students will be able to play for their schools in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup, which pits students from both schools against each other in a friendly non-checking game at the Berkley Ice Arena, 2300 Robina Ave.

“This immediately gives kids who are a little older and have been playing hockey for different teams the chance to play together and have a sense of school pride, and that doesn’t happen very often” Dan Radomski, with the Berkley Youth Hockey Association, said. “They may all end up playing together if they go to Berkley High School, but this is the first time they are associated with playing for their school because there isn’t a middle school hockey team.

“This is a great way to get them excited about playing one day for the high school.”

The sixth- and seventh-grade game pitting the Anderson Vikings against the Norup Hawks will take place from noon-1:30 p.m. The eighth-grade game will follow from 1:30-3 p.m.

BYHA President John Nicolai said the Mayor’s Cup came to be as the BYHA was talking with the Berkley Parks and Recreation Department to find a way to get the youth into hockey. The city decided to name it the Mayor’s Cup after Mayor Phil O’Dwyer gave it his seal of approval.

“It snowballed from one idea one morning to, four weeks later, we had a game with a ton of interest from the parents and kids in the community,” Nicolai said. “It is really cool because the players get a chance to show their friends what they do, because when you go to the hockey game, it is basically just your parents out there. They get to play against their friends and represent their school, and we just have packed stands and support from the community.”

Another hockey game that will take place is the alumni game at 3 p.m. Any current Berkley High School students who went to Anderson or Norup can suit up for their old middle schools and play against alumni from the other school.

For the high school, Nicolai said unlike the middle school players, they have had a chance to play with one another, so many enjoy having the chance to play against their current teammates.

“These kids went to Anderson and Norup, and it is a lot of fun because one more time they get to represent their old middle school,” he said. “When you are in middle school, you may know kids from the other school from other sports, but when you get to high school, you are all together and play together on high school teams, so they all know each other and they get to suit up against each other.”

Outside of the hockey games, another aspect of the Mayor’s Cup is raising funds for and bringing awareness to the Berkley Ice Arena. The players pay to play in the games, and Nicolai said they keep the price as low as possible, as most of the fundraising is done through a 50/50 raffle.

In the past, the BYHA has been able to donate $1,000 to help the city with purchasing new lighting. This year, any money donated will go toward the purchase of a new scoreboard.

“It has been no secret about the city’s need to subsidize programs and facilities like the ice rink,” Radomski said. “The ice arena is more expensive to upkeep than a baseball diamond, so we want to give them some proceeds to help with the upkeep, and we hope to give them enough to help with a new scoreboard. We feel pretty comfortable we can raise enough to get something new.”

With the BYHA being one of the most common users of the rink, Nicolai said he hopes the community realizes the importance of the arena and supports it.

“When the arena was built, it was a 25-year facility, and we are going on 40 years old now,” he said. “A lot of kids come up here and play, and it is right in our neighborhood, so it is very convenient to the parents. We want to do whatever we can do to keep it going so it can thrive for another 10, 20 or 30 years.”