North’s goalie Greg Feliu (New Rochelle) and Anthony Carudo (Suffern), center, defend a shot by South’s Teddy Bellis (Mamaroneck) during an exceptional senior hockey game at the Ice Hutch in Mount Vernon March 18, 2013. (Matthew Brown/The Journal News) To view a gallery of photos from the game, click here.
By Dan DeFrancesco
MOUNT VERNON — For the past four months, Section 1 hockey teams have battled it out with one another at ice rinks across the Lower Hudson Valley.
On Monday night, a truce was called after a war of a season so that some of the best seniors throughout the section could play with each other in the Exceptional Seniors game at the Ice Hutch.
For Scarsdale’s Ian Marinelli, the game was a chance to see how the other half lives, so to speak.
“It lets me get to know some of these kids that I don’t know, that I just think are kinda not great kids because they play for Mamaroneck or Pelham,” Marinelli said. “It’s good to get us all together and play one last game.”
Getting a chance to team with someone who was competition a few weeks earlier is exactly why Mamaroneck coach Mike Chiapparelli likes organizing the event every year.
“I think they’ll go home from this game and go, ‘Hey, that guy really is good,’ or, ‘He’s not as good as I thought he was,’ ” said Chiapparelli, who is the head of the coaches’ association. “I think it’s a good-feeling kind of game.”
While the 28 seniors were divided into two teams, the South coached by White Plains’ Howie Rubenstein and the North handled by Lakeland/Panas’ Bart Mucci, the game was more of a showcase. Hitting was not allowed, and penalty shots were awarded for penalties, increasing the pace of the game and allowing players to show off their finesse.
The spirit of the game was clear early. After White Plains’ Kevin McGee scored the game’s first goal, he celebrated with a head-first dive across the ice.
“The kids hop on the line with kids they might not have been with, and they get to play with them,” Chiapparelli said. “It’s fun.”
South would end up victorious, winning 13-12.
For the majority of the players, the game signified potentially their last time playing a sport that has been a large part of their lives.
“It’s good because I’m not really playing any more competitive hockey,” Suffern’s Robert Clark said. “So it’s fun playing this against all the teams I’ve played with throughout my high school career.”
While Kevin Halpin, a defenseman for Sleepy Hollow/Irvington/Dobbs Ferry, said he would try to play club hockey wherever he ends up, he understands the game meant the end of a chapter of his life, in terms of hockey.
“It’s upsetting and also exciting,” said Halpin of his last game representing his high school team. “It’s moving on with my hockey career.”
Marinelli, who will play roller hockey in college next year, looked at it as just another opportunity to get back on the ice.
“It’s one last bang, I guess,” Marinelli said. “One last game.”