Worcester Ice Center and the Railers JHC host the EHL & EHLP Showcase
The Worcester Railers JHC hosted the first Eastern Hockey League showcase of the year with the hopes of continuing their strong start to the season and showing off the Worcester Ice Center, the beautiful facility that they call home.
The Railers, in their third season in the EHL, have grown a tremendous amount over the course of the three years and are looking to continue on the upward trend this season, especially with their hot 3-0 start.
The Showcase is the first being hosted by the league since January 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic, and the first of five scheduled for this season. EHL Associate Commissioner Neil Ravin was thrilled to be able to get all league teams under the same roof again.
“The last time we had a showcase was back in January 2020, here in Worcester at the EHLP level and at the time no one knew what was coming next,” said Ravin. “A whole year passed without having any events. The only event we got to have last year was our finals, which was great because we got to crown a champion.”
This showcase, along with the others planned, is important for the players because a number of college coaches will come to these events and is crucial for the recruiting process for college.
“This is just that much more important for us this season because when you get to the finals, so many kids are already committed since it is so late in the season,” said Ravin. So, the college coaches don’t have as much to watch as they do right now.”
There was so much anticipation for this showcase, as there has not been something like this in so long and seeing everyone so eager to get going was exciting for Ravin.
“I pulled in the parking lot at around 8:30 am (Thursday) morning with the first game not starting until 11 and to see so many players already here and the college coaches filing in right away was great. We are lucky to have a lot of great rinks in this league, but this (Worcester Ice Center) is one of the best.”
Ravin touched upon why the Worcester Ice Center is so great, not only for its cleanliness and great ice surface, but also all the amenities it has to offer.
“I can be a bit of a neat freak at times and this rink is very, very clean and cold, but that is what makes the ice that much better,” said Ravin. “When we have all these games stacked up on top of one another, the ice gets worn down, so for us to have the comfort of knowing that at seven tonight or even tomorrow night the ice is still going to be good, that is what it is all about.”
This facility was the perfect one to start with and Ravin couldn’t be happier to get the first showcase underway here.
“When you tack on all the amenities of the new brewery and everything else this facility has to offer, there is nothing better to kick off the return of our showcases then to have it here,” said Ravin.
“Perfect spot, great location and great to see people showing up so early because they were excited to get started.”
The city of Worcester is up and coming and with the Worcester Ice Center being so centrally located right off the highway, it is the perfect place to want to play.
General Manager of the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, Derek Alfama, who is also on the Railers front office staff was thrilled to be able to host an event of this caliber at the rink.
“We are super excited to have the event here in Central Massachusetts,” said Alfama. “Worcester has always been a good spot for these types of events, so we are honored to be able to hold it here. We are centrally located and a relatively new facility, heading into our fourth season here.”
This rink is a great attraction due to everything around it and the fact that it has so much to offer makes it a desirable place to want to play.
“We are in a great area,” said Alfama. “Polar Park (home of the Boston Red Sox Triple A affiliate) is right behind us, there are tons of restaurants and hotels all around us, so it is a tremendous spot to host this event. Not only do we have two ice surfaces, but we have several major tenants here such as Bay State Brewing, Reliant Medical Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation upstairs and Bando Performance for all our off-ice activities for workouts.”
The big takeaway is that this rink is a great place for an athlete to grow and play with everything it has to offer.
“It is an all encompassing eco-system that we have here that really provides an athlete a total and great experience,” Alfama said.
Not only do the Worcester Railers Junior Hockey Club’s EHL and EHLP teams call the Worcester Ice Center home, but a number of other colleges and private schools in the area do as well.
“The Worcester Railers professional team (ECHL) practices here on occasion when they can’t get ice at the DCU Center, we also have a Jr. Railers youth hockey program. You can start with our Learn to Skate program and work your way all the way up to juniors,” Alfama said.
The city of Worcester has many major colleges and the Worcester Ice Center is proud to host a few of them. “Assumption College practices and plays its games here,” Alfama said. “Worcester State Men’s and Women’s hockey both practice and play here and Worcester Academy, a private school also has both their men and women’s programs play here.”
The Worcester Railers are thrilled to call a place like the Worcester Ice Center home and are excited to get the rest of their season going, as they host this great EHL Showcase event.