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'Did you play for Orchard?'

Ever since moving to Baltimore from New England, I've been hockey-needy. I grew up with that sport -- the Beanpot Tournament, the Boston Bruins, No. 4 Bobby Orr, he shoots, he scores!! -- and, though Baltimore had minor league teams here (the Clippers, the Skipjacks), there just didn't seem to be much of a hockey tradition. Turns out, that organized hockey at the youth level has been around for better than 40 years, and there were high school teams in Baltimore long ago. (The first college game in history was played a century ago between Johns Hopkins and Yale at a long-gone rink in Baltimore. You can look it up.)

Around here, guys played for the old Baltimore Boys Hockey Program, a forerunner of the club my kids play for, Baltimore Youth Hockey. My kids got me involved in the sport locally and, over the years, I've met dozens of guys (and a few women) who played at the local rinks, including Orchard and Meadowbrook, the outdoor rink near Memorial Stadium, Benfield and Patterson Park, back in the 60s and 70s. The common experience of ice hockey -- a niche sport in these parts -- binds ole hockey heads; theirs is a relatively small and unique fraternity. So, for the first time that anyone knows of, they're staging a reunion for anyone who ever played youth hockey in the Baltimore area. It's Saturday, Jan. 27 at the Tall Cedars of Lebanon Hall, 2301 Putty Hill Avenue, Putty Hill Avenue and Old Harford Road, from 7 p.m. until midnight. It is for ages 21 and up and costs $35/person. Contact Mark Conner, mark.conner@credit-suisse.com.
Proceeds benefit BYH's Patterson Park Stars community service project.

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