The journey for a team, city and region that began last fall with a practice in an empty Messa Rink ends today at the steps of City Hall, as the Union College men’s hockey team will be honored with a parade and ceremony celebrating its NCAA Division I hockey title.
The 1.3-mile parade will step off from the Union College campus at 4 p.m. and reach City Hall an estimated 45 minutes later. In addition to players and coaches, the procession will include the Union pep band, bagpipers, college President Stephen Ainlay, Mayor Gary McCarthy and others.
Union (32-6-4) won the national title last week at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, beating Boston College in the semifinals before defeating powerhouse Minnesota 7-4 in Saturday night’s final.
The hockey team will be on firetrucks starting from Alumni Gym on Alexander Lane on campus. The procession will proceed on Nott Street, Seward Place and Union Street before finally turning onto Jay Street, concluding at City Hall.
Schenectady is known for its annual Gazette Holiday Parade, but the last specially scheduled large-scale celebratory parade came in April 2001, when the state champion Schenectady High boy’s basketball team was honored.
But the city has a history of such parades, dating back at least to the 1800s. The 1954 Schenectady Little League team was celebrated on the streets, as was Schenectady’s 1903 State League title team.
“Doff Your Cap to the Champions,” a newspaper headline read honoring the 1903 team.
It’s a new era. But don’t forget your cap today.