DARIEN—To the outside world, Saturday’s matchup between Darien and New Canaan seems like a typical early-season matchup between two middle-of-the-road type teams trying to establish their identities.
However, for the three-mile stretch that separates the two high schools, it has the potential to be a lot more.
For both team’s it’s a measuring stick of where they’ll likely stand in the FCIAC. Both the Rams and New Canaan have tumultuous slates to start the season, which could alter the perception of their talent level in relation to their records.
Saturday should provide a clearer picture of what each can team can bring against like-abled competition.
Also, obviously, the rivalry aspect of the game comes with its own implications.
While hockey is often a lightly-attended sport, both student sections tend to come out in droves for the matchup.
Now, after the Turkey Bowl game and the events surrounding it, I would expect both communities to come out in even fuller force. I would also expect a game that is chippy normally to push the boundaries of hard-nosed play vs. genuine dislike.
I have faith Darien coach Mac Budd and New Canaan coach Clark Jones understand the gravity of the game, and are doing their due diligence to make sure the focus remains the outcome of the game and not sending a message.
The teams will meet once more in the regular season in February with maybe more on the line, but round one on Saturday will have plenty to watch.