So upon request from commissioner Jobu himself, I have been brought into the world of one of the most NOT talked about college sports, College Hockey. In this case, I am covering a big time college hockey tournament that is 50+ years in the making. I am, of course, talking about Boston’s Beanpot Tournament, which will be starting tonight at the TD Garden. So sit back and be wowed by that which has really become one of the coolest hockey tournaments in the country.
The Beanpot tournament is an annual hockey tournament between Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern and Harvard University. It has been held every year since the 1952-53 season, with the winner claiming all of the bragging rights over its cross-town rivals and, of corse, the highly sought-after trophy. It is played on consecutive mondays (this year, the first round is on the 6th and the finals on the 13th) in front of frantic sellout crowds from all four schools and, because of the local rivalries, is widely considered one of the most intense tournaments in college hockey.
1. Boston College Eagles: (16-10-1) – Ranked #5 in the country
The Eagles were the most dominant team in the early days of the Beanpot, winning eight titles in the first thirteen years of the tournament. BC might be returning to dominance, as it has won the last two Beanpots and is currently ranked ranked fifth in the nation according to USCHO.com. Could they run away with the Beanpot this year?
2. Boston University Terriers: (15-8-1) – Ranked #3 in the country
As previously mentioned, BU’s Beanpot dominance started when Jack Parker first stepped on the ice and has not stopped. He won three Beanpots as a player and then worked his way into the coaching staff, where he has contributed to 21 more championships. In total, the Terriers have won 28 of the last 44 Beanpots, including twelve of the last fifteen. Can the Terriers add another one this year?
3. Harvard University Crimson: (7-6-9)
Now it has been almost twenty years since Harvard has won the Beanpot, but after digging around here is a little bit of interesting information regarding Harvard. None of the championship games that have been played to date have featured BOTH Harvard and Northeastern… NONE! However, in comparison, the two schools have historically dominated the women’s Beanpot tournament.
4. Northeastern University Huskies: (11-11-3)
Norhteastern is probably the most underdog team (go figure their mascot is a Husky) in the tournament. It has only won the tournament four times. However, they have been in fourteen championship games. Northeastern is also the only Beanpot tournament team that has never won an NCAA hockey title. They also did not win their first Beanpot until 1980, almost 30 years after the tournament started! You can imagine how those fans felt when they finally won. Northeastern went on to win three more titles in the 1980s, but have not won since 1988.
Who’s Gonna Win It All?
With Both BC and BU having the upper hand due to their ranking and schedule, I obviously would like to say that both Universities will be a shoe in for the championship game However, something just doesn’t sit right with saying the two best teams will win. I feel Boston College has been playing incredibly well this season, and Northeastern is hungry for an upset in this tournament, So I will go out on a limb and say that the Eagles and the Huskies will meet in the finals, with the Eagles winning their 3rd consecutive Beanpot championship.
I asked Clu to write this piece because the Beanpot is very dear to me. I graduated from Boston College in 2004, so I have a bit of an inside perspective on what this tournament means to the fans, the players and even the schools themselves.
There’s something you have to understand about college hockey. It’s not really that popular. Don’t get me wrong, I love college hockey. Outside of the Northeast and the Midwest, it’s hard to find legitimate hockey programs. Those areas which have embraced the sport, however, are as feverishly adamant about their teams and the sport itself as any fans of any other professional or college sport.
The Boston fan base is one of the country’s most passionate, and nothing is different when it comes to college hockey. The Boston College/Boston University rivalry is among the best in the sport, especially when both teams are good enough to be ranked in the top five. Harvard and Northeastern want nothing more than to take out the two big dogs (ok one dog and one eagle) and prove to the city that they’re the best.
I remember how excited we, as students, would get for this tournament. Any chance to root for our eagles to beat BU at anything, let alone hockey (can’t beat them at football now, can we?…They don’t have a team), is one we couldn’t pass up. Boston College gear was a must. It all started with the Super Fans t-shirt we all got during orientation (it’s golden yellow, and yes I still have mine and wear it from time to time). If you were fortunate enough to have a BC hockey jersey, you’d put that on too, and then some kind of hooded sweatshirt, because it was cold in the Fleet Center (as it was known back then). Add some beers and a well-rested yelling voice, and you were all set.
It was really neat to be able to head to the Fleet Center to watch the Eagles play hockey. There’s something special about seeing your guys on a professional rink (and in front of twice as many people as you’re used to). It’s more exciting than seeing them at the school rink. It’s like taking a field trip to see a game. You gather in groups, ride the T to the arena, maybe sneak a couple beers and pump yourselves up for game time. When the puck drops, all that energy explodes out of you. Even when the Eagles didn’t win, we had a great time.
As for the 2012 Beanpot tonight… Let’s Go Eagles and Sucks to BU!
Feature image courtesy of: AP Photo/Cal Sport Media
Mascots image courtesy of: Michael Cummo
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