Later this month, ice hockey rivals will meet at the Capital Region’s biggest venue for the sixth annual Mayor's Cup. This year women's teams will also take part.
"I can guarantee two things: It's gonna be a lot of fun, it's gonna be a heck of a battle." ~ Dave Smith
Dave Smith, head coach of the RPI Engineers men's ice hockey program, joined his counterpart from Union College, Rick Bennett, and other sports figures and local government officials Tuesday morning at Albany's Times Union Center to promote January 27th’s Mayor's Cup. "It's the perfect venue for crosstown rivals to play. Let's meet in the middle, er, about the middle, let's meet in the middle and let's play a game for the region for bragging rights for a year."
The Mayor's Cup has changed hands all five years, with the two Division I teams alternating victories. Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says she’s a huge sports fan. "This matchup is a mayor's dream. Neither of the teams are located in the city of Albany so I don't have to be in that awkward position of trying to pick my favorite child. I love hockey, and now we've added a women's game to the card. So it's going to be a really really exciting time. And I would encourage anyone out there who is a sports fan of any kind. This is the game to come to. Come here, see these college players, who are playing at incredibly high levels, play in an arena that we hope is gonna be packed. It usually is packed. These are fast games, they're exciting games, these are phenomenal teams. And if you've never watched a women’s game, come out and see these incredible athletes."
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy says he is excited that women's teams will compete for the first time in the Mayor's Cup series. "It's a fun afternoon and evening out. People should take advantage of it and come out and see two great hockey teams in the afternoon at 3 o'clock, and then the men's game is another two great teams at 7 o'clock, and we look forward to the trophy coming back to Schenectady."
Troy Deputy Mayor Monica Kurzejeski : "It's six years, 3 to 2 is the record, No team has ever won back to back, Mayor McCarthy, that means it's comin' back to Troy."
The RPI-Union hockey rivalry dates back to 1904. The Mayor’s Cup gained notoriety in 2014, its second year, when unranked RPI skated to a 2-1 victory over Union. An ensuing brawl saw players and coaches go at it.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy: "It's always good to have a good fight between two good colleges like RPI and Union and to have everyone here behind it. I look forward to the 27th. Please get out, get your tickets, come on down, it's gonna be a great day of entertainment and a great time to watch two great schools play on the ice."
At the conclusion of the game, the three mayors meet on the ice and Mayor Sheehan presents the trophy to the winning team's captain and mayor of the institution's city.
The game comes at a pivotal time for the newly-renovated arena, which has its grand reopening this month. It lost its longtime hockey tenant, the Albany Devils, last year, and the future of the UAlbany-Siena basketball rivalry game is uncertain.
Saturday, January 27:
- Women's Hockey 3:00 PM RPI Engineers vs Union Dutchwomen
- Men's Hockey 6:00 PM RPI Engineers vs Union Dutchmen