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John Habib's City Sports: Coliseum awaits Memorial banner
Manchester Memorial players celebrate their Division I state title last March after beating Manchester Central in overtime at Verizon Wireless Arena. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader File)
Eight months have passed since the championship game, and the Crusaders still don't have a banner to hoist. That's about to change, Memorial coach Mark Putney said this week, and he should know; he's the one paying for the flag.
Putney said he hopes to raise the banner, which will cost somewhere between $150 and $200, during the Bauer Christmas Hockey Tournament.
The Crusaders and Little Green had played against each other since 1961, when Memorial opened with a student body comprising mostly former Central pupils, and both teams had enjoyed some success, especially in the past three decades. Memorial had been to five championship games and won three. Central had won its only title game, back in 1981.
"I hope I'm wrong, but we probably won't see Memorial playing Central in the state hockey finals for a long time," he said. "It obviously doesn't happen very often. Last year's championship game was special because it was Memorial and Central."
WITH THE high school hockey season set to open two weeks from Monday, Putney already has set the tone for his team.
Despite having lost 11 players from last year's team — nine to graduation, one to prep school, one to junior hockey — Putney said, "I've already told my team we're not in a rebuilding mode."
That said, the Crusaders will have lots of new faces in key roles this season. Along with the nine players Memorial lost to graduation, it will be without defenseman Bryan Syrene, now a member of the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs, and forward Brendan Sullivan, who transferred to Hebron Academy in Maine.
THE aforementioned Bauer Christmas Hockey Tournament is scheduled for Dec. 26-29 at the JFK. Eight teams will play three games over the first three days, with a two-division format grouping Hanover, Concord, Memorial and Bedford in one bracket and Central, Trinity, Goffstown and Merrimack in the other. A total of four games will be played during the first three days of the tournament beginning at 2 p.m. the day after Christmas.
ONE OF the former Central football players noted in last week's column as longtime participants in the Little Green Gridiron Club wants to be sure that other members instrumental in the club's founding get credit as well.Steve Schubert — cited along with his brother, Jim, and Ron Lavigne as the type of members Geno Brown and other young alumni hope to emulate — said credit also goes to Dick Bozoian, John Davis, Dr. Mike Murphy, Dick Boisvert, Don Winterton, Stephen Grzywacz and Gerry Tautkus.
"City Sports" appears Saturdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email staff reporter John Habib at firstname.lastname@example.org.