April 5, 2004
NCAA Frozen Four

Postcard: A Family Affair

By Nate Ewell

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Too Much Hockey?
NCAA and FleetCenter organizers are prepared for five games in four days.

Joyce Rolston is the quintessential hockey mom, and she’s sat, cheered and screamed her way through Frozen Fours and Stanley Cup Playoff runs in support of her three sons.

But she’s never had a week like the one that lies ahead of her in Boston. Her son Ron is an assistant coach helping lead Boston College in the Frozen Four, while his brother Brian skates for the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.

Yes, event organizers have it tough – getting the rink ready for five games in four days will be no easy task. Joyce will be there, too, emotionally invested in every shot, hit and goal. She notes that Brian will be “sequestered in a hotel” with the Bruins all week; Joyce, meanwhile, will be sequestered in the FleetCenter. Nobody’s spent this much time in a Boston rink since the Blizzard of ’78.

“I can take it,” she said late last week from her Fenton, Michigan, home. “I’m a hockey mom – I’m tough.”

Good fortune and hard work has brought her sons to the same city, and in reach of their sports’ biggest prizes. Ron, who coached in three straight Frozen Fours from 1992-94 with Lake Superior State, hasn’t been back to the big stage in 10 years. He came to the Boston area with Harvard in 1999 and joined BC before last season.

Another Family Affair

The Rolstons aren't the only BC hockey family with eyes on both the Frozen Four and the Staney Cup Playoffs. Sophomore Stephen Gionta's brother, Brian, will be facing Philadelphia in the first round as a member of the New Jersey Devils. It's possible that in the second round, Stephen's brother could be facing his assistant coach's brother.

Brian, who was on those 1992 and ’93 Laker teams and won a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 1995, joined him in the Hub when he was traded to the Bruins in the Ray Bourque deal in 2000.

The family has appreciated their proximity. Joyce has become a frequent visitor to Boston – “I love the city,” she says. Brian brought his son to the Eagle locker room after the Beanpot victory, while Ron catches as many Bruin games as possible – as much, it seems, to keep an eye on the coaching strategies as it is to watch his brother.

This week promises to be a new experience for everyone involved. Joyce has her bags packed, with outfits color-coded like the ones she probably used to lay out for the boys when they were kids: black and gold for Wednesday and Friday, BC sweatshirt for Thursday and Saturday.

Joyce’s only piece of advice for Eagles and Bruins fans who will be joining her in the crowd is one she admits she won’t follow: “You have to try not to get too emotional,” she said. “It’s just a hockey game.”

Or just five hockey games, in her case.

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