The world of sports is filled with intense rivalries, from national teams competing for world titles to local high school teams vying for bragging rights. Hockey is no exception to this, and one of the most iconic and long-standing rivalries in the sport can be found between Stonehill College and their opponents.
Located in Easton, Massachusetts, Stonehill College has a rich history in hockey, boasting a Division II men’s team and a Division I women’s team. The college has been a powerhouse in the sport for decades, and their matchups against other top teams have always been highly anticipated. But perhaps the most exhilarating and talked-about games are the ones against their fiercest rivals.
In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most important and memorable matchups in Stonehill’s history, and explore the reasons behind their longstanding rivalries.
The Birth of Rivalries
Every great rivalry has a beginning, and for Stonehill, it all started with their longtime rival, Babson College. The two schools, situated just a few miles apart, have been competing against each other since the early 1970s. But it was their first matchup in 1973 that set the tone for what would become one of the most intense and storied rivalries in the region.
Babson, a Division III school, was a powerhouse in hockey, having won multiple championships and boasting some of the best players in the country. Stonehill, on the other hand, was a relatively new program, only in its third season of existence. Many thought it would be an easy win for Babson, but Stonehill shocked everyone by pulling off a 4-3 upset victory.
The game was a barnburner, with both teams going back and forth and leaving it all on the ice. But it was the underdogs, Stonehill, who came out on top, and that was the beginning of a fierce rivalry that would last for decades.
The Battle of the Hills
Another one of Stonehill’s biggest rivals is Assumption College. Located a little further away in Worcester, Massachusetts, the two schools have been competing against each other since the 1980s. But it wasn’t until the late 1990s that the rivalry truly intensified.
Both schools had strong hockey programs, and their matchups were always intense and closely fought. But it was their battles in the annual Hills Cup that truly amplified the rivalry. This annual competition was not just about the game on the ice, but it was a celebration of the pride and spirit of the two schools.
The Hills Cup was highly coveted, and the atmosphere at these games was electric. Fans from both schools would pack the stands, and the players on the ice would leave it all out there, knowing that only one team would lift the cup at the end of the night. The competition was fierce, but the camaraderie and mutual respect between the teams were always evident.
New Rivalries, Same Intensity
As with any sport, rivalries can also develop over time with the emergence of new powerhouse teams. Such was the case with Stonehill and Penn State-Berks. The two schools had never competed against each other until 2016, when Stonehill’s women’s hockey team joined the newly formed Colonial Hockey Conference (CHC), which also included Penn State-Berks.
But it didn’t take long for the two teams to develop a fierce rivalry. In their first meeting, Stonehill handed Penn State-Berks a 7-0 loss, sparking the competitive fire between the two programs. From then on, every encounter between these teams was a hard-fought battle, with both sides hungry for the win.
What made this rivalry even more intriguing was the fact that the two schools were competing for the same recruits. With both teams offering top-notch hockey programs and prestigious academic opportunities, it became a head-to-head battle on and off the ice.
The Undeniable Impact of Rivalries
Rivalries in sports are about much more than just winning games. They bring out the best in players and teams, pushing them to new heights and driving them to fight harder. But they also bring communities together, creating a sense of unity and pride. Stonehill’s rivalries are a testament to this, with students, alumni, and fans all coming together to support their teams and celebrate their victories.
These rivalries have also helped in shaping the identity of Stonehill as a top institution in the world of collegiate hockey. They have put the college on the map and created a legacy that will endure for years to come. And as the fierce competition continues year after year, the memories and stories of these games will continue to be passed down from generation to generation.
Stonehill College has had its fair share of intense and legendary matchups in its rich history of hockey. From the birth of rivalries with Babson, the fierce battles for the Hills Cup with Assumption, to the fiery competitions with Penn State-Berks, these matchups have become a fundamental part of the college’s identity and legacy. And as long as there is hockey, these rivalries will continue to be revisited and celebrated, reminding us of the true spirit and passion of the sport.