by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor
Ordinarily, the Monday after the Super Bowl is a powering-down for a significant portion of the sporting public.
But for hard-core hockey fans and alumni/alumnae of the four Boston-area Division I universities, things are just heating up.
the traditional first Monday of the Beanpot, whose 61st annual edition
kicks off later this evening at Boston's TD Garden with a pair of
contests: Boston University pairs up with Northeastern in the early game,
slated for 5 p.m. (et) and Boston College squares off with Harvard
at 8 p.m.
Three schools (BC, BU and Northeastern) located within
the boundaries of the City of Boston are the pride of Hockey East and
Harvard (out of Cambridge) holds it down for ECAC Hockey.
the tournament, which has come to be called the "BU Invitiational" for
the Terriers' stretch of dominance for the last two decades, it is BC
which holds the crown as three-time defending champions and winners in four of the last five years.
and Philadelphia have traditionally shared the stigma of being called
"provincial" in its collective mindset. While Philadelphia has done
quite a bit in recent years to reshape its image and shed that moniker,
it is largely alive and well in the Hub, and its college hockey scene is
one of the embodiments of that ethos.
The Beanpot is to Boston what the Big 5 was
to Philadelphia -- a collection of individual schools competing against
one another, but at the same time collectively raising the profile in
the sport in the city while also providing a feeder system for the pros.
The rivalries are intense, full of pride and passion, pain and
prominence. In Philly as in Boston, there is an issue of class in which
school you either attended or support.
You're just as likely to
find friends who attended BC and BU cursing each other during the 'Pot
then sharing a beer after the game as you are to find St. Joe's and
Villanova alums doing the same after the Holy War. The colors and the
loyalty run deep.
Think Eagles fans are a ribald bunch? How about
the potential of 60,000 students ages 18-25 who have the rivalry
tattooed on their chromosomes.
Still, college hockey has little
significant foothold in Philadelphia, and though the Frozen Four is
coming here in next April, we will be besieged with what equates to foreigners
on friendly shores.
The invading hordes from every small
Northern town from Orono to Colorado Springs will be upon us, so I'm
trying to rope in some new initiates before then. Knowledge of the
Beanpot is a great way to start.
Regarding the bona fides: Boston
University has won the most, with 29 titles -- but only once in the
last 5 years. Perennial rival BC is next with 17. Harvard has won 10 and
Northeastern, the red-headed stepchild of the bunch, clocks in with
just four crowns. The Eagles hadn't won three straight since taking three
in a row from 1963-65, and can set a school record with a fourth consecutive title if they happen to win out. The Crimson haven't been triumphant since 1993 and the
Huskies are still looking to regain the magic from the 80's, when they
took their entire allotment ('80, 84-85, '88).
The winners of
this Monday's contest will play for the Beanpot title at 7:30 p.m. next
Monday in Boston. The losers compete in the consolation game which is
scheduled for 4:30 p.m. that day.
If everything goes according to
plan, there will be yet another clash between Jerry York-led Boston
College and BU-driven Jack Parker in the finals.
But then again,
some years things are turned on their heads and the least-likely
suspects come to the forefront -- like the year Harvard rallied from
deficits of 3-0 and 4-1 to beat eventual conference champion and
national finalist BC in overtime during a first-round game. Or having BC
and Northeastern combine for 13 goals two years ago that could have easily been
Former Beanpot participants who have played/coached for the
Flyers include: Harvey Bennett, Tony Amonte, Freddie Meyer, Kevin
Stevens and Joe Mullen.
For a full work-up, visit the official site.