On Jan. 11, 2014, the men’s hockey team will face Harvard at center ice in one of the most storied arenas in the world — Madison Square Garden — for the first time in more than four decades.
This matchup will mark the 239th chapter of the Yale-Harvard rivalry, which dates back to 1900, when the Elis took a 5–4 decision from the Cantabs at St. Nicholas Rink in Manhattan. The last time both schools skated against each other on Garden ice was Dec. 21, 1970, when the Crimson played their way to a 6–2 victory. Now, the reigning national champion Bulldogs will get a chance to take back the world’s most famous arena in the inaugural “Rivalry on Ice” game.
Leverage Agency, the sports marketing group that will handle marketing and promotion for the “Rivalry on Ice,” came up with the idea three years ago.
“I saw the success of [Boston University] and Cornell at Madison Square Garden as a special recurring game that had a lot of buzz and attention from alumni and students,” Leverage CEO Ben Sturner said in an email to the News. “I immediately thought of Yale and Harvard, as the rivalry is so fierce between the two schools and both have great ice hockey programs.”
The Terriers and the Big Red have met at the Garden every Thanksgiving weekend since 2007 for a matchup billed as “Red Hot Hockey.” The game has sold out the 18,200 seats in MSG three times in its six-year history, and Sturner hopes that the Yale-Harvard game can generate similar interest.
Yale and Harvard have signed a two-year contract with Leverage, Madison Square Garden and NBC, which will air the contest on its NBC Sports network.
“This has been in the works for over three years with extensive talks and meetings with both universities and athletic departments for approvals and to set the date and time that works best,” Sturner said.
The game is scheduled during an exciting time for both teams. Coming off their first NCAA Championship, the Bulldogs will be defending their title next season. At the same time, the Crimson will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of its 1989 NCAA Championship, during which current head coach Ted Donato was voted “Most Outstanding Player”.
Yale and Harvard will play their ECAC conference games on Dec. 7 at Ingalls Rink and on Feb. 21 at Harvard’s Bright Hockey Center. The “Rivalry on Ice” game will be the first time the two teams meet in 2014.
“We look forward to this great opportunity to play an old rival in a historic hockey venue,” Yale head coach Keith Allain said in a press release. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for alumni of both schools to support college hockey on a big stage.”
Tickets to the event went on sale June 10 through Ticketmaster as well as the Madison Square Garden website. Harvard and Yale alumni had access to a special presale that began on June 3 through the schools’ athletic departments.
According to SeatGeek, a ticket search engine, the overall average asking price for tickets in the Harvard fan sections is currently at $111, while tickets in the Yale fan sections are averaging at $118. Yale students, however, will have access to subsidized tickets, according to the Yale ticket office.
The “The Rivalry On Ice” game airs live on NBC Sports Network on Jan. 11 at a time to be determined.