Six-year-old Nicolas Pugleise stood on the Temple bench wearing his dad’s cousin’s lime-green hockey helmet.
The signature moment was a part of a pre-game ceremony for the late Mark Murray. Murray was a forward on the ice hockey club’s original squad, starting in 1977.
Pugleise went on to perform the ceremonial puck drop before the game between Temple captain Greg Malinowski and Penn State captain Christopher Lewis.
Mike Jenks, a former teammate of Murray’s, orchestrated the ceremonies creation and brought together of the original team’s members.
Before Temple hit the ice, Jenks and his former teammates crammed into the Owls locker room to meet the players and share advice. The current Owls showed respect to the original members by giving them commemorative pucks.
Among the alumni was coach Ryan Frain’s former high school coach, Joe Blaszczyk. Blaszczck coached Frain throughout his time with Archbishop Ryan High School from 2002 until his graduation in 2006.
“Coach Frain always had a very good work ethic,” Blaszczyk said. “He was one of the key players on my high school team. He worked very hard, he was very driven and determined, and it’s good that he has carried that [into] the current team.”
Blaszczyk also said Frain is not far removed from playing himself and can relate to the players better than an older coach.
Frain exchanged pleasant feelings about his former coach, but admitted that he had not seen him in a couple years.
“I have actually been able to play with his two sons over the past two or three years at the Dave Pearlman memorial tournaments,” Frain said. “We all get our old high school team together and have the alumni face the younger guys.”
Blaszczcyk addressed the team in the locker room after formal introductions and reminded the players to cherish the time they have with each other.
“It was definitely cool to see one of the first organized teams that Temple had,” defenseman Patrick Hanrahan said. “The guys definitely motivated us and pumped us up. It’s cool to see the comradery between the players. Some of the guys have seen each other for 35 years so it’s cool to see the brotherhood is still there.”
The original team was built off the fraternity type lifestyle, but Hanrahan insists that his team possesses a similar trait.
“Were definitely a very close team,” Hanrahan said. “We’re always hanging out with each other. There is seven of us that live in a house together. Everybody is always hanging out on weekends or whenever we get the chance.”
It has been three years since the Owls have reached the American Colligate Hockey Association Regional playoffs, but the drought has like threads with the former team.
The original club failed to make the playoffs in the Delaware Valley Colligate Hockey Conference from 1977 through 1979, but finally made it in 1980.
“You can’t be happy with losing,” Jenks said. “You have to hate losing and love winning and you go into a game with anything else on your mind. You can’t just score a couple goals and give up. You can’t have that attitude. You have to fight back.”
Stephen Godwin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @StephenGodwinJr.