Aug 31, 2013
Boston, Mass. - Playing if front of big crowds is not something that has ever bothered Notre Dame hockey senior left wing Jeff Costello. He's seen action in big games at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, in the Frozen Four in front of a sellout crowd at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. and last year skated in front of over 52,000 fans in the outdoor game at Soldier Field in Chicago.
On Friday night though, things were a little different for the Milwaukee, Wis., native as he moved to the pitcher's mound at Fenway Park to throw out the first pitch in front of over 36,000 fans prior to the start of the Boston-Chicago White Sox game.
"I was a little nervous," said Costello. "I just wanted to make sure that I got it to the catcher. I think I would have been less nervous if I had a hockey stick and could have shot the ball to him."
Of course it didn't help matters that throughout his day in Boston, anyone who heard about him throwing out the first pitch was quick to offer him advice the advice, `just don't bounce it to home plate."
When the time came for the pitch, Costello was surrounded by the coaches and captains from the eight Hockey East schools that will participate in the Citi Frozen Fenway 2014 games that will be held next January on the frozen baseball diamond at one of baseball's true shrine's - Fenway Park.
Costello along with head coach Jeff Jackson and the eight participating teams were in Boston on Friday to announce the event that will run from Dec. 28 to January 13. Citi Frozen Fenway is a two-week event that will include outdoor hockey games and ice skating events to end 2013 and ring in the new year of 2014.
In conjunction, Hockey East will play host to two outdoor hockey doubleheaders on consecutive Saturday's - January 4 and January 11. The Irish will participate in the Jan. 4 twinbill and will face Boston College in the 7:30 p.m. game that evening. Game one will feature Merrimack and Providence College in the 4:00 p.m. game. The following weekend will have UMass.-Lowell playing Northeastern at 3:00 p.m. while Maine and Boston University tangle at 6:30.
Tickets for the college hockey doubleheaders are available at redsox.com/frozenfenway or by calling (877) RED-SOX9. Ticket prices range from $5.00 to $75.00 for each doubleheader and will go on sale to the public on Friday, September 6 at noon.
The event was held in 2012 and more than 90,000 hockey and skating fans visited "America's Most Beloved Ballpark. Citi Frozen Fenway is held in conjunction with the City of Boston, Hockey East Association and Fenway Sports Management.
Oh yeah, back to that first pitch. When the time came, Costello was equal to the task as he threw a perfect strike to Red Sox infielder Daniel Nava, and the pressure was off.
"After it was over, I have to say it was a great experience. It was nerve racking just thinking about it all day," said Costello.
"Seeing Fenway Park for the first time was a great experience. It's going to be great coming back to play here in January. Next time, at least I know I will have a hockey stick in my hand."