Upcoming hockey matchup could be historic

Posted 3/7/23

This Sunday will be one of the biggest sporting events of the season for Warwick, as the Warwick co-op boys hockey team will square off against defending champion Bishop Hendricken in the Division I …

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Upcoming hockey matchup could be historic


This Sunday will be one of the biggest sporting events of the season for Warwick, as the Warwick co-op boys hockey team will square off against defending champion Bishop Hendricken in the Division I Semifinals with a chance at reaching the championship on the line.

In my opinion, this is a massive game for the city for a number of reasons. Let’s dive in.

First off, the obvious. We get the city’s public schools taking on the private school.

There is always that rivalry and that storyline and now we get to enjoy it in a playoff atmosphere. Considering school sizes, we rarely get to see Pilgrim or Toll Gate square off against Hendricken. We get the occasional scrimmage or non-league event, so this is going to be fun.

Then, of course, the significance of the game.

Hendricken finished the season in first place in its pursuit to become back to back champions. Warwick on the other hand is in the middle of a huge bounce back season. Last winter, the co-op won just one game and was bounced early in the playoffs. This year, the Militia, as it is now referring to itself as, finished in fourth place and has been competitive with every team it has faced. It has a real shot at this thing.

The most important aspect of this whole matchup is, without a doubt, the fact that this could serve as a test run for future co-ops in the city.

I have spoken on this time and time again, but I am totally for co-ops in the city of Warwick. Some teams are in no need, but others have been struggling with numbers in the past few seasons. Regardless of the two new high schools or building just one, I am a big fan of co-ops when they make sense.

One of the biggest appeals of co-ops in Warwick is the possibility of the rivalries it would create with Hendricken. Between and Pilgrim and Toll Gate, most, if not all of their boys teams would be in Division I like the Militia is. Imagine how much buzz there would be when these events took place, similar to the game we’re about to get this Sunday?

Playoff hockey, Thanksgiving football, the possibilities are endless and this weekend will give us a taste of it.

If you don’t recall, earlier in the regular season, the Militia dealt the Hawks a 5-2 loss in a big upset, which was Warwick’s breakout performance this winter. It was Hendricken’s only loss of the season to this point.

That was a massive story and it was only an early regular season matchup. Imagine if the Militia pulls off a playoff upset? That would be one of the biggest stories in Warwick sports history. That is what is on the line here this weekend.

From my perspective, there is no losing here. If Hendricken takes care of business then it will continue to fight for another title. Consecutive championships are always a good story. If the Militia pulls off the upset, then see above.

If you are a Warwick sports fan, you should absolutely be locked into this playoff race and watch this weekend’s game, whether it is live or via stream. So much is on the line both on the ice and off it. Again, I am not saying that Pilgrim and Toll Gate should just join forces willy nilly, but for teams that are struggling to maintain numbers, I suggest paying attention to this team and keeping an open mind. Warwick public versus Warwick private could be the state’s best rivalry.

Speaking of hockey, I was covering the playoffs this past weekend at Thayer and was eavesdropping on a couple of gentlemen chatting it up in the stands.

One of them made a point that I loved hearing. He was saying that high school hockey is underrated and underappreciated. He was saying that it is a 5 dollar ticket, free parking and cheap concessions. He’s totally right, and it’s something that I think about often.

Sure, it is always fun seeing the pros play or high level college teams go at it. That big arena atmosphere can’t be replicated and it is always fun to see the guys on TV live, right in front of you.

But if you are looking for a cheap, easy night out. Why not head down the street to watch the game?

Especially during the playoffs. It’s the best teams, best players in the state going at it. It is much different than watching a youth hockey game where the kids are still learning to skate.

Admission, a snack and drink, all for 10-15 bucks? How can you beat that? I say that to myself all the time. I was thrilled to see that others share that view and support our local athletics.

Lastly, I would like to give one last shout out to two of our teams that wrapped up their seasons this past week.

The Cranston boys hockey team dropped its playoff series over the weekend. The Falcons had a very young roster, made up almost entirely of underclassmen. Well, they reached the playoffs and earned a preliminary round win. Although the kids were probably sad to see things end this weekend, it is a huge step in the right direction and Cranston will be right in the thick of things for the next two or three years.

Then, there is the Johnston boys basketball team, which fell in the Sweet 16 round of the open tournament to Smithfield.

The Panthers claimed their first title since 1996 when they won the Division II Championship. The Panthers were the favorites heading into the opening round of the open tournament, so it was a disappointing end, but there is no taking away from what they already accomplished. Johnston was one of the best teams in the state and the kids are champions. It was a fun ride to cover.

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  • JohnStark

    Based upon enrollment, Tollgate and Pilgrim should already be in D1 in all sports except football, which has unique quirks at the top level. The two schools have virtually identical enrollments to Barrington, Classical, and Mt. Pleasant so you wonder what the hesitancy is in basketball, football, etc. Thanksgiving football would be great vs Hendricken. But it would require co-op football, the necessity of which would not be a good look for the 9th and 10th largest schools in the state.

    Friday, March 10 Report this