Mayor Richard Alcombright dropped a ceremonial first puck.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The line to see the Berkshire Battalion was out the door.
More than 700 area residents packed the Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Rink Friday night to root on the new Federal Hockey League semi-professional team for their inaugural season.
"The crowds are huge. I couldn't believe it when I came here. So many people are here to see this team. It is going to be an exciting season," State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, who alongside Mayor Richard Alcombright dropped an ceremonial first puck and cut a ribbon.
The team had just signed an agreement with the Department of Conservation and Recreation earlier this week for use of the rink.
With 26 home games scheduled for the season, the team hopes to draw crowds throughout the winter.
"The people here are really nice people. They love hockey. If you give them a good product at a fair price, they'll give you a chance. We're going to show them that if you work hard to listen to what they are saying, get good feedback and make this as good as we can," said General Manager Herm Sorcher.
And they are off to a good start. Friday's attendance exceeded Sorcher's expectations and the team gave the fans everything from skillful passes, dekes and a whole lot of goals to fisticuffs. The Berkshire Battalion won their first ever game in a blowout fashion - finishing at 10-2 - over Southwest Pennsylvania.
"You couldn't have drawn it up any better. We had a big win. We had a line out the door. We had the mayor on the ice, the state representative," Sorcher said. "We had a packed house. It is a great start."
Alcombright called Friday's crowd a "wild scene" and compared the Battalion to the North Adams SteepleCats baseball team. The team brings more activity to the city and instills pride, the mayor said.
State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi pumped up the crowd before the start of the game.
"This is absolutely wonderful. We were waiting for DCR to sign off and waiting for this to come together. It was all coming together, coming together and it is just great to be here," Alcombright said.
Alcombright said he had been working with DCR Commissioner Jack Murray to finalize the agreement to bring the team in.
In the last few weeks the state and the team were going back and forth over language in the lease agreement.
"I think they struck a great agreement. We wanted to see them there. We wanted to see North Adams progress. We wanted to see all of these seats filled," Cariddi said.
The Battalion's arrival comes on the heels of a series of renovations to the building, dating back to 2007.
"Except for the fact that we don't have have really appropriate locker room facilities yet, everything else here is state of the art. Our ice is as good as anyone else's in the state. We've got beautiful lighting and beautiful sound," Alcombright said. "It is just a great facility."
The mayor hopes bringing in the high level of play will help the youth hockey leagues that have been growing in the renovated rink.
"They bring a new interest in hockey. We've had a growing hockey program in the last couple of years but this will be a new level," Alcombright said.
In the future, Sorcher said the lockers rooms could use renovations and he hopes they'll need to add more seating and food vendors. But now in the first stages of building a hockey franchise here, the space fits works perfectly for him.
"Overall it is a great place to watch a game. You are right on top of it," Sorcher said.
While the Battilion may have won their first game easily, Sorcher says they have a much tougher game on Oct. 25 when they face a veteran Danville franchise.
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Northern Berkshire Adult Education Program Enrollment Open
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire Adult Education Program is currently enrolling students for the spring semester.
All classes and services are currently being conducted remotely. When possible, in person instruction will be offered.
The Northern Berkshire Adult Education Program offers classes to prepare for the Massachusetts High School Equivalency Credential. In addition to classes to prepare for the HISET or GED tests, they offer classes to help improve academic skills to enter postsecondary education, training programs, employment readiness and basic academic skills.
The Northern Berkshire Adult Education Program will offer a course in Digital Literacy starting in February, for those individuals needing to learn digital literacy for the first time or to improve your current knowledge base. North Star Digital Literacy Curriculum will be utilized. Students who participate in this program will be eligible to take a credentialing exam to demonstrate competency in digital literacy.
All the programs of the Northern Berkshire Adult Education Program are free of charge funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education/Office of Adult and Community Learning Services.
For More information, please refer to our website at www.mcla.edu/abe to schedule an appointment to speak with someone about more information.
Principal Justin Kratz told the School Committee last Thursday that instead of inviting area eighth-graders to the school for the annual showcase and look at after-school programming, the school's recruitment efforts will be virtual.
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