Upland wins 44th Invitational ice hockey tournament

The Upland ice hockey team celebrates its championship.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — Led by legendary Upland coach, Court Dunn, the boys’ varsity brought home the Finnish Cup of Friendship this weekend at the 44th Annual Invitational Boys’ Hockey Tournament at the John M. Cleveland Ice Rink.

The home team competed against three New England junior prep schools including

New Canaan Country School, Rectory School, and Rumsey Hall.

First on the ice, UCDS started strong, notching a 6-2 win against New Canaan. Rumsey Hall opened against Rectory, winning 2-1. Saturday afternoon, Upland played Rumsey and won 6-2, and Rectory topped New Canaan, 6-0.

Sunday morning the teams were back at it.  This time, Rumsey beat New Canaan 8-1, and UCDS beat Rectory, 5-4, in the final moments of a neck-and-neck showdown. UCDS then played Rumsey Hall, the defending champion of The Cup, for the second time of the weekend in the championship game. The boys battled it out in a nail-biting game to bring the Finnish Cup of Friendship back home with a 5-3 win. Goaltender Max Kiviniemi came up with crucial saves throughout the game.  All Tournament players for Upland included Rasmus Berrebbah, Braden Speck, and Max Umansky.

Although 3 players are chosen by opposing coaches to round out the All-Tournament team, each Upland player contributed with well timed goals, incredible defensive plays, with a sense of passion and commitment that is rare in junior school hockey players. The feeling of pride for Upland and the history of the tournament was palpable at the rink this weekend.

“The contributions of our alums over the past 44 years cannot go unmentioned.  Seeing so many alums return to campus, cheering us on, every inch of the way, in the rink and in the locker room, gave our boys a sense of camaraderie with all those who’ve gone before. It was an incredible experience.  All were indispensable parts of the whole —  synergy in action!” said Coach Dunn.

The win, the first since 2014, signifies an exciting renewed enthusiasm and focus on athletics at Upland.   New Athletic Director and Upland Alum ‘04, Emily Neilson says, “This weekend’s tournament and Upland’s championship will be stored on the same shelf that I cherish the other great wins of my life.  It was a real honor to watch our boys and Coach Dunn and Coach Michael Patterson compete with every ounce of grit and class and talent they have. To witness the Upland hockey in its full battle cry was nothing less than magnificent.”

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