They won the school's first state championship
the day after St. Patrick's Day. Their nickname is the Red Devils. So
why would the color purple mean so much to the Burlington High School
boys hockey team?
Burlington was cruising along in the months of
December and January. In February they hit a rut, tying four consecutive
games. Off the ice there were three people close to their program
battling cancer. The players, along with the girls hockey team and the
cheerleaders, decided to do more than just talk about their friends.
They organized a cancer awareness night at one of their doubleheaders at
their home rink, the Burlington Ice Palace. The theme for the
evening was "Purple the Palace," purple being the color that represents
awareness of certain forms of cancer. Before the game, all three people
addressed the team.
"Those three people gave all of us a new
perspective on life," said captain Brian Hood, "it motivated us and
turned our season around."
Did it ever! The Red Devils won eight
of their final nine games of the season, including the state final at
the TD Garden over Milton.
"The night those three people spoke,
your could feel the difference in our locker room," said coach Bob
Conceison. "That was February 15th and we felt it all the way through
our championship game ( March 18th) until our bus pulled into the Ice
Palace after the victory."
Burlington outscored their opponents
48-23 after they "purpled the palace." More importantly they learned at
a young age to seize the moment and that nothing lasts forever.
tell our players to fight through checks and fight to get the puck,"
Conceison added. "These three people told our team about the real fight
they endure every day of their lives and suddenly the small little
hockey world our team plays in, got a whole lot wider. They grew as
people and bonded as a team."
Passion comes in many forms. For the Burlington Red Devils it also came in the color purple.