Do you remember your first trip to Fenway Park? Remember walking into the dank, dark concourse, up the walkway to the stands? Can’t you see the bright sunshine, the brilliant blue sky, the dark green grass and the red clay infield as you make your way out of the tunnel? Remember the first time you actually saw the Green Monster?

There is nothing quite like that first, awe-inspiring trip to one of baseball’s cathedrals.

For a group of hockey players from the Maranacook Youth Hockey Association, their first Fenway experience had a different, wintery feel. Those players saw the brilliant blue sky, the dark green grass and the Green Monster, but instead of the red clay infield, they saw a sheet of ice.

On Monday, a group of mite (8-under) players from the Maranacook Youth Hockey Association traveled to Boston to take part in an event sponsored by the Boston Red Sox and USA Hockey. Sixteen teams from New England (two from each state) were selected via lottery to play on the ice surface built on the infield of Major League Baseball’s oldest active stadium. (Western Maine Youth Hockey was the other team from Maine selected to play). The event was part of a 16-day event dubbed “Sun Life Frozen Fenway” the highlight of which is a Hockey East doubleheader Saturday night.

“I think they were in awe,” said Mike Saucier, the head coach of Maranacook’s team.

“Even me, as a 43-year-old adult, I was about as excited, if not more so, than the kids. To be on the field, it was a remarkable feeling.”

The Maranacook team, which consisted of 12 players and three coaches (Saucier, Gus Cloutier and Steve Godbout), were on the ice with three other teams. They skated against Lyndon Area Youth Hockey of Vermont and Lakes Region Youth Hockey from New Hampshire. Duxbury Youth Hockey skated at the same time. The ice was separated into three sections, cross ice, with games on either end and drills in the middle. A team would play for a minute and a half, do drills for a minute and a half, then rest for a minute and half before playing again.

The Maranacook Youth Hockey Association, thanks to sponsors Ledge Hill Farm and By the Board Lumber, chartered a bus to Fenway. They arrived at the hallowed grounds around noon, and after checking in, were escorted into Fenway along the third-base line.

After walking through the stands for access to the field, the players and coaches laced up their skates in the shadows of the Green Monster, Fenway Park’s 37-foot tall wall in left field.

“When they walked onto the field, their eyes were as big as saucers,” said Henry Clauson, vice president of the Maranacook Youth Hockey Association.

The event took on the feel of a baseball game thanks to the unseasonably warm temperatures and lack of snow. The grass at Fenway was still a vibrant green, according to Clauson, and temperatures pushed 60 degrees. Despite the warm temps, Saucier said the ice was great.

Players took their usual warms ups, then lined up for the national anthem, turning to face the flag that flies high above the press box and pavelin seating behind home plate.

After an hour on the ice, teams were given a few minutes to snap photos before being hurried off the field to make room for a high school game.

Saucier and his son Gavin were able to capture a moment the two of them will never forget. Father kneeling on the ice next to his son, who is in full uniform, arms wrapped around each, with the famous Fenway press box behind them.

“Even at this point, toward the end of the week, I have no words,” Saucier said Thursday remembering those few seconds with his son. “It is a moment I’ll never forget.”

None of those moments — from walking into Fenway, to skating in front of the Green Monster, to stealing one last glance at the field as they walked out of Fenway — will be forgotten any time soon.

Scott Martin is the Executive Sports Editor for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Reach him at [email protected], @scottamartin on Twitter, or 621-5618

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