February 1, 2007
Beanpot Coaches Fondly Recall Boston Garden

By Jeff Howe

Jack Parker, Jerry York, and Ted Donato all know a thing or two about the Beanpot. All three coaches have played in the nation’s most premier in-season tournament, and they all have a varying degree of coaching experience in it.

Hockey East Notebook

The charms of Boston Garden were on the minds of Beanpot coaches at a pre-tournament press conference on Thursday.

National TV Schedule

But since 1996, the Beanpot has been missing something. While the tourney doesn’t lack any luster, the venue does. The TD BankNorth Garden — also the artist formally known as the FleetCenter, among other things — is a nice, fairly new building.

But it’s not the Boston Garden.

“It was just such an electric atmosphere, coming out of the runway,” Donato said. “I’m fortunate enough to have memories from there dating back to high school, the Beanpot, and then the Bruins. It was a special place for me. The FleetCenter is still an incredible venue but to me, there is still only one Garden. That atmosphere and that proximity of the crowd is something that is very difficult to replicate. I’m one of those people that loves Fenway Park and the history of the older buildings.”

“I really enjoyed playing in it,” York said. "That was a lot of fun, and there was a lot of excitement. That was the old Garden. That was fun. I liked the old Garden.”

Donato was the only member of the three coaches who played in the Garden professionally, so his sentiments were stronger than the other two. The new building has grown a bit on York and Parker.

“This place has become a pretty good venue,” York said. “It’s growing on me a little bit. Initially, it was kind of bland. Now, we’re all getting used to it.”

“In some ways, I miss the old Garden with the crowd right on top of you,” Parker said. “You can feel the emotion in the building. But, the ice is much better here. The skating is much better here. The lighting is much better here. There’s no smoking, but you wouldn’t have a smoking problem in here now, anyway. And you can actually walk around here without your shoes sticking to the floor. You were walking out of your loafers.”

But wasn’t that what made the Garden so great?

The first Beanpot was played at Boston Arena before it shifted to the Garden. It switched to the FleetCenter in 1996.


Coach Speak: Great quotes weren’t hard to come across during the Beanpot luncheon at the TD BankNorth Garden Thursday. After the free-for-all, each coach took the podium for a few minutes. Per the norm, Jack Parker began, drawing the crowd into a roar with every one-liner, and each coach tried to trump him. Here are some snippets:

Parker on Harvard’s brutal exam schedule: “I think they’re the only school that takes exams.”

Parker on BU’s heavy contingent in attendance: “When there’s a free meal, the Terriers will show up.”

Greg Cronin on Joe Santilli’s gift of gab: “Joe could talk a dog off a meat wagon.”

Cronin after a series of one-liners: “Jack, I’m just trying to trump you on the comedy part of this.”

Jerry York on last week’s two-game series with BU: “We just had two great games, no fog involved.”

York on Mike Brennan: “He’s from Long Island. He’s not a local guy, but we’re trying to make him a local guy. He still speaks with, well, not a great accent.”

Harvard defenseman Dylan Reese — standing at the podium in front of the Beanpot trophy — on his lack of success in the Beanpot: “We’d really like to get our hands on the Beanpot because this is about as close as I’ve ever gotten to it.”

And the best line of the afternoon. York was praising Ted Donato on the job he has done since taking over the Harvard bench. He recalled a time when he told Cronin that getting used to coaching was like trying to cross Boston’s Zakim Bridge. Due to Wednesday’s fake terrorism scare in Boston that involved packages being found on bridges across the city, Donato had a message back for York: “Talking about bridges, Jerry, with all the ‘Light Bright’ stuff going on, keep that quiet. I might be a suspect.”

Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

UNH vs. Maine (Fri./Manchester)
Maine at UNH (Sat.)
The most underappreciated rivalry in Hockey East shifts to a neutral site in Manchester Friday before heading to Durham Saturday. Maine has been reeling lately and could use a couple big wins to get itself back in the national picture. A couple losses for the Black Bears, and they might find themselves on the outside of NCAA Tournament picture. UNH is getting healthy at the right time. Mike Radja could return this weekend, and Jacob Micflikier’s shoulder concerns were less severe than originally anticipated. The Wildcats will be nice and refreshed for a final push down the home stretch.

While You’re There: Manch-Vegas has a great airport with very cheap prices, which is great because a lot of people don’t like staying in town any longer than they have to. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) The Wild Rover Pub on Kosciuszko Street is a hot spot for hockey crowds, and sounds like it may be worth checking out.

Stick Salute

Vermont handed out free paper goalie masks during its home weekend series against Boston College a couple weeks ago. The best part about the helmets is the note on the back. “WARNING: THIS MASK IS NOT TO BE WORN AS A PROTECTIVE DEVICE.”

Bench Minor

We know winning on the road in conference is tough, but the Catamounts’ two ties at Merrimack last weekend are inexcusable if they want to make serious headway in Hockey East. Vermont currently has the second longest unbeaten streak (3-0-3) in the country, but it lost some serious steam following up its weekend sweep of Boston College.


• UNH is close to returning to full strength after a couple injury setbacks. Jacob Micflikier skated in last Saturday’s win over Providence. He missed both games against UMass the weekend before, and wasn’t expected to return against the Friars. Mike Radja, who has been battling a knee injury for much of the year, may see the ice in this weekend’s two-game set with Maine. With guys like Josh Ciocco, Peter LeBlanc and Bobby Butler seeing increased time on higher lines due to the injuries, the Wildcats’ depth will be as scary as any team’s in the nation.

• BU sophomore Brandon Yip won't be back on the ice for a while after suffering a high right ankle sprain in last Friday’s loss to Boston College at Agganis Arena. Yip collided with teammate Pete MacArthur in the first period and did not return. Yip's ankle has not responded well since then. Jack Parker said Yip definitely will not return in time to play in the Beanpot. Yip, played in the first two games of the season, missed the next 16 games with a shoulder injury and returned for six more. Yip is not eligible to medically redshirt. To qualify, one must play in less than 20 percent of a team’s games and get injured during the first half of the team's schedule.

• The friendship between Terrier coach Jack Parker and UMass bench boss Don Cahoon is as storied as any front men in Hockey East. After the Minutemen blew a 3-0 lead and wound up tying BU 3-3 last Saturday night at the Mullins Center, Parker was overheard razzing his former player and assistant coach outside the media room.
“That game obviously should have been in the bag for UMass if they had any kind of coaching at all,” he quipped. Of course, Cahoon took it all in stride.

• This just in: Jerry York and Jack Parker are good. When BC and BU played twice last week, it marked the first two times in college hockey history that coaches with 750 wins squared off.

• Maine’s Mike Lundin got whistled for tripping in the third period of last Saturday’s overtime win over Northeastern. It was the first penalty called on the defenseman in 49 games (Dec. 2, 2005).

• UNH is ranked No. 1 in both national polls for the first time since Oct. 28, 2002. With one more victory, the Wildcats will have reached the 20-win plateau for the 11th consecutive year.

• Before last Friday’s 5-2 loss to the Eagles, BU hadn’t dropped a game by more than a goal all season.

• Former Boston College defenseman and current blue liner for the Boston Bruins Andrew Alberts was on hand for a short while at the Beanpot luncheon Thursday. He showed up after Bruins practice to say hi to some former friends, including former coach Jerry York.

• Northeastern used Boston University’s ice to practice earlier in the week since the Huskies’ hoops team needed Matthews Arena. Jack Parker was on hand for some of the practice, and saw some hockey Huskies get into a fight on the team bench.

• Five Huskies scored in their 6-1 win over Maine last Friday. It was the fifth time this season at least four Northeastern players have scored.

• Providence has killed 19 straight penalties, and 58 of 62 power-play opportunities overall.

• Here’s an interesting Boston University stat: The Terriers are 12-2-3 when they have less than 30 shots in a game this season, but 2-3-4 when recording more than 30 shots.

• A dish network in Canada has picked up the Beanpot rights and will broadcast the tournament throughout the country. It will also be shown on delay in Afghanistan.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Jeff Howe can be reached at jeff@insidecollegehockey.com.