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McKinley and Hutch-Tech, again Rivals matched on Super Sunday

It's fitting that a classic old-time hockey rivalry is on the docket for the silver anniversary of Super Sunday.

McKinley and Hutch-Tech renew acquaintances at 3 p.m. Sunday in HSBC Arena, and playing for playoff supremacy in the Explorer League is nothing new to these teams.

It's something the two Buffalo schools have done many times during the 25-year history of the event -- making it that much more special they're meeting in a year the showcase celebrates a milestone.

Sunday marks the 12th time since 1993 the teams have faced off for the title, with McKinley holding a 6-5 edge.

"They [McKinley] make it look easy and anybody that's ever had to do anything like this understands it's not easy," Hutch-Tech coach Dale Marrs said. "It all goes back to what you put into it is what you get out of it and obviously these fellas put a lot into it and they've reaped a lot of good rewards. . . . I hope we put on a good show."

The Explorer League championship will be the fourth of six games during the annual event in which the area's club leagues crown champions.

The day's action starts at 9 a.m. with the Western New York Club League's Mixed Schools final between City Honors-O'Hara and Dunkirk-Fredonia and ends with the 7 p.m. WNY Club Large School showdown between North Tonawanda and Grand Island.

Cheektowaga makes its ninth Super Sunday appearance and will take on old friend Depew -- making its 11th appearance -- for the WNY Club Small School crown at 5 p.m. The Southtowns Club League championship games will be at 11 a.m. (Eden-Lake Shore vs. Cleveland Hill-JFK for the Potter Division) and 1 p.m. (Canisius vs. Iroquois-Alden for McAndrews Division). All games will be shown via tape delay on Time Warner Sports Net on a still-to-be-determined date.

But McKinley-Hutch-Tech figures to be a must-see game as usual. If it seems like these two squads are always at Super Sunday, it's with good reason.

Hutch-Tech is making its 19th appearance, while McKinley is making its 15th. Four of the title games between these teams have been decided in overtime, including an epic four-overtime 4-3 triumph by McKinley in 1994.
"The hard work of the kids, the dedication of the kids and the coaching staffs is what makes McKinley and Hutch-Tech the elite group [in the league]," longtime McKinley coach Bill Cline said.

Select members from each of the 12 participating teams were on hand for Wednesday's media day at the arena. The festivities included a talk from Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, along with the opportunity to watch Sabres practice, and lunch at Chef's.

The common theme passed on by Ruff and participating coaches who addressed the media -- enjoy the moment. That's good advice because not every scholastic player has a chance to play in an NHL arena, let alone for a title before thousands of fans.

"It's something they'll always remember," Cline said. "I can be sitting in my seats at a Sabres game and I'll see a kid that I coached 10 years ago come up to me and say hello and talk about Super Sunday. . . . It's the highlight of their high school career."

e-mail: mrodriguez@buffnews.com

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