The following excerpt will appear in the “About Me” tab of the Beanpot Forum:
Growing up in Boston meant being engrossed in hockey tradition. From the annual pilgrimmage to the Beanpot tournament, BC games at Conte Forum with my Dad, to watching UMass revamp their program (or at least somewhat so) at the Mullins; chants of “It’s all your fault,” “Safety School” and the infamous “Sieve, Sieve, Sieve” heckling call still resonate with me. Growing up a BC Eagle fan, I developed an organic hatred for BU of course (“Sucks to BU”) which has faded over time into a mild grade dislike. My goal in writing this blog is to be a purveyor of Hockey East information and provide its provincial followers with a forum to exchange ideas and express their love for the game.
I have indelible memories of my first Beanpot tournament at the old Gaahden and vividly remember watching the hockey east battles of the 80’s and nineties; I’m talkin old school variety with faint memories of the Brian Leetch/Kevin Stevens/Bob Sweeney BC squads playing in the good ole McHugh Forum followed up by the “HEM” line generation with the likes of Bill Guerin, Steve Heinze and Hobey Baker winner David Emma (I still have a fondness for those ugly mustard yellow helmets those squads donned).
It’s hard top imagine Beanpots of the current generation equalling the sheer excitement of the tournaments played in the late 80’s/early nineties (I once again thank my Dad for taking me to every single one of these). The combination of frenetic energy generated by the acoustics and unique character of the old gaahden combined with the prolific talent on 3 of those teams (sorry Northeastern) in my mind will forever be unmatched. The intricate dimensions, obstructed view seats, incredible decibel levels and overall blue collar feel of the old barn will forever be etched in my mind..actually have a framed photo of the old garden in my office, much to the chagrin of my wife.
BU, as much as it pains me to say it, probably had the most renowned talent of those 80’s/90’s Beanpot teams with the likes of Tony Amonte, Keith Tkachuk, Jay Pandolfo and the list goes on and on. Jack Parker remains the only coaching legend who still remains from the elite group of this era that included Fern Flaman, Len Ceglarski and Bill Cleary….not sure if its just my youthful imagination that spawns this hyperbole but this truly was the greatest generation of Boston area college hockey coaches; tell me when there will ever be FOUR legendary coaches with as much character and acclaim as there were back in this generation.
I would be remissed not to mention the truly incredulous run Harvard had (Only national championship in Harvard School history) as I harken back to a thrilling Beanpot game between talent laden BC and Harvard squads that served as a springboard for the Crimson national title in ’89; who could forget the Harvard Hares and the stuffy, yet loyal following of the Harvard fans back then (hard to imagine now as the legacy and gravitas of the program has seemingly dissapeared).
Sadly, my memories of UMASS hockey when I attended 1995-2000 (yes the 5 year route) were typically of attending games merely to see the opponents play at the Mullins Center…..whether it be Chris Drury and Mike Grier coming in from BU, Jason Krog (UNH) or any other of the talented hockey east squads of the late 90’s. UMASS was truly a “basketball school” during my tenure which is a complete dichotomy to the UMASS of recent years where hockey is THE event at the Mullins Center, although the program has not transitioned to the level that I personally think it should be at by now (we will save my anti Toot Cahoon sentiment for future postings as my angst runs deep on this very topic and there is too much to discuss here and now).
These are the memories from my childhood/adolescent years that have molded me into the avid college hockey fan I am today!
Why am I starting this website?
The advent and proliferation of social media technology and the expansion of sports packages offered by cable providers has, much like the NY Times best selling novel by Thomas Friedman, truly flattened the sports world. I often tell my friends and family who visit me here in Chicago (relocated here in 2000) quite regularly, that if you failed to physically leave my condo, you would think you were in Boston due to the exorbitant number of Boston channels and various sports packages that perpetually play out on my TV through my Direct TV satellite – once again, much to the chagrin of my wife. Not only can I DVR and tape the standard NESN game of the week, but I can indulge in games broadcast across a variety of mediums including CCHA, WCHA and virtually any college hockey game on the planet.
The true linchpin, however has been the ever involving sports sector of the internet, specifically -Twitter; which provides an even better communication tool that allows an amateur blogger/college hockey fan to connect with beat writers, expert bloggers, and other rabid fans throughout the country. The fact that an amateur blogger like me can interact with a literary sports giant like Kevin Paul Dupont is simply WRONG yet truly liberating at the same time. I can literally sign on to Twitter and follow Fear The Triangle and Fight Mass blogging live from the Mullins Center in Amherst or CHN’s Joe Meloni tweeting from Agganis or Conte Forum while I am sitting on my couch in Chicago…its truly amazing how far technology has come and how interconnected we all can be if we ultimately choose to do so. By channelling all of these resources into one site, followers of the Beanpot Forum will have an opportunity to obtain live, gameday insight from many of these esteemed bloggers (as if they were at the arena themselves).
The second fortunate event that will allow me to offer a unique, “Midwest perspective” on the hockey east scene was the addition of Notre Dame as the 11th Hockey East member. This allows me a venue in close proximity to Chicago to attend and report on all of the hockey east squads that parade into the new Compton Center. There are also a vast array of college hockey venues that are all within a short drive (3-4 hours)from Chicago including, Univ. Of Wisconsin-Madison, Western Michigan, and Michigan State to name a few. I also reside in the heart of USHL country and will thusly be able to keep tabs on some of the future talent ready to make the jump to Hockey East.
My goal is to link to together all of this available media into a “one stop shop” for all Hockey East information while at the same time, offer my own insight and perspective by means of weekly posts and articles on a variety of topics. My intent is to put a considerable effort into my “Where Are They Now” monthly feature which provides an update on alumni from the past; something I myself feel have been pining for more coverage of.
Lastly, this forum will provide a platform that will allow me to research and post all of the information that I myself would otherwise be yearning for as it relates to the college hockey world.