High School Hockey Final Played 21 Years Later

Members of the Delbarton hockey team play for the NJ state title, 21 years after originally scheduled.
At this weekend's New Jersey state high school hockey championship game between archrivals Delbarton and St. Joseph, you couldn't help but notice - the players were all extremely mature.

Some of them appeared downright middle-aged.

But that's what happens when you postpone a state championship game for 21 years.

In 1989, when the game was supposed to be played, a measles outbreak forced officials to put it on hold. The players all hoped the game would be rescheduled - but winter led to spring and spring led to graduation and it just never happened.

Flash forward two decades.

After reading an article on what had become known as "the Greatest Game Never Played," former St. Joe's defenseman Scott Williams, now an insurance agent and part-time musician, got an idea: resolve the title once and for all, sell tickets, and raise money for cancer charities.

"It's purely a little closure. Even if we lose, it's closure," Williams said.

Chris Frosk came down from Boston. "It's unbelievable. It's the chance of a lifetime," he said.

Others came from as far away as Texas and California. By game day, St. Joe's had all but three of its players back and Delbarton had all but one of its players back - ready and willing to play.

As for the game itself? It wasn't exactly poetry on ice. More like dancing with the scars.

The penalties were especially fun for the kids - it was great to see dad get a timeout for a change.

The best part for me, however, was that moment right at the end - when teams typically celebrate or mourn accordingly. Delbarton won, but you couldn't tell by looking - guys on both sides showed what really matters at the end of a long, hard fought game.

Makes me wonder if we shouldn't postpone all high school championships for 21 years.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.