From the FreeP: Jack Parker reflects on John Silber’s passing, BU’s growth

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

When John Silber took over as president of Boston University in February 1971, the men’s hockey team was readying to be on top of the college hockey world. Under the tutelage of then-head coach Jack Kelley and then-assistant coach Jack Parker, the Terriers won the national championship during Silber’s first year on campus and repeated the feat in 1972 – an accomplishment that didn’t go unnoticed by Silber.
“He came to our [end-of-the-season] banquet in ’72, and he said at the banquet that his job was to make Boston University worthy of its hockey team,” Parker said. “And his job really was to save Boston University. Boston University was on the ropes financially, was on the ropes reputation-wise. It had a lot of positive things going for it, but from a financial point of view, it was in rough shape.
“[Silber said,] ‘first thing we have to do is save this place. The next thing we have to do is make it great,’” Parker said.
With Silber’s passing Thursday at his home in Brookline at the age of 86, the widespread sentiment was that he accomplished all of those things – and much, much more.
Many have attested to how important, albeit often controversial, the Silber era was for BU. But few have been around long enough to witness first-hand the school’s transformation the way Parker has.
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Hockey East media day transcript: Wade Megan and Ryan Ruikka

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

Senior captain Wade Megan

On how the freshmen have looked so far:
“So far so good. We have been on the ice only a handful of times but guys coming in have been working hard so that is a good sign.”

On if anyone has stood out:
“They are all really good players. They have been working really hard which is the biggest thing. So we will see moving forward.”

On being ranked third in the preseason Hockey East coaches poll:

“It’s preseason. It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now. We are just excited to get the season started and get going here.”

On getting back to hockey:
“It will be great. I think it is going to be important for us just to get back to the rink and keep working hard. Like I said, we are just excited to get the season started.”

On filling the spots left vacant with last year’s departures:
“We are all going to have to [fill in the empty spots]. We lost some key guys but the ten guys coming in are going to need to contribute early and often. That is going to be a big part of our success this year.”

On the freshmen goalies:
“Like I said, we have only been on the ice a handful of times but the biggest thing I see in them is that they both compete and that is something we haven’t had. So it is going to be important for those guys to just compete against each other and continue to make each other better.”

On BU coach Jack Parker’s coaching style:

“He is pretty consistent. He has his style of coaching and we respond to it. We like the way he coaches but I don’t think he has changed much over the four years. I am excited to play for him for a fourth year.”

Senior assistant captain Ryan Ruikka

On his new role as assistant captain:
“I think it’s great. I’m honored that coach selected me for that. It’s a blessing. I’m looking forward to just kind of leading the guys and just having guys look up to me.”

On it being his fifth year with the team and taking control of a young group:
“I think it’s great. I was actually with all of the freshmen during second summer term working out with them. They are all great hockey players. They work real hard. Just great kids to be around so I’m looking forward to working with them.”

On filling empty spots on defense:
“We definitely lost some great players back there but we have plenty of other good ones to fill in and make a good contribution to the team.”

On if there is any extra responsibility with only two captains:

“The numbers isn’t the biggest thing. You need your whole group of upperclassmen to just be leaders on the team and set the example for all the other guys. I think that is what makes the difference. Yeah, we have a letter on our jersey but we are not the only leaders on the team.”

BU picked third in Hockey East media poll

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

The Boston University men’s hockey team has been selected to finish third in Hockey East, according to a preseason Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association poll released Sunday. Members of the media who cover the conference’s ten teams in various capacities voted.

The only teams picked to finish ahead of the Terriers were defending national champions Boston College (21 first-place votes) and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (three first-place votes). Maine, picked to finish sixth, received the other first-place vote.

Additionally, juniors forward Matt Nieto and defenseman Garrett Noonan were selected to the preseason All-Hockey East team. Last year, the then-sophomores recorded 42 and 27 points, respectively, each contributing 16 goals.

The full results of the poll can be found here.

BU names Ruikka assistant captain, adds walk-on freshman Breed to roster

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

Back in March, it was uncertain that senior defenseman Ryan Ruikka would even return to the Boston University men’s hockey team. The Chelsea, Mich. native had just finished a dual major bachelor’s degree in economics in mathematics, but he decided to come back to the University to work on a master’s degree in economics and play another year under BU coach Jack Parker for the hockey team.

Now, it is apparent that Ruikka will not only return to the team, but he will be one of the team’s leaders, as he was named assistant captain for the 2012-13 season on Thursday. The fifth-year senior will serve his position alongside senior captain Wade Megan, who was named BU’s captain back in April.

Ruikka only played in 29 games last season, as he was a healthy scratch for 10 of the team’s 39 games. In those 29 games, the defenseman notched five assists while having an even plus-minus rating.

BU also announced the final roster of the hockey team on Thursday, which includes only one surprise. Freshman forward Nick Breed made the team as a walk-on, becoming the team’s 16th forward.

Breed led Maine Class B hockey with 34 goals in his senior year with Cape Elizabeth High School and was named to the All-State team.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound forward is the team’s 10th member of its freshman class, which makes up 38 percent of the team’s 26-man roster this year.

Colby Cohen comes to defense of Jack Parker, BU hockey program

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

In light of the whirlwind surrounding the Boston University men’s hockey team in the last week — first the task force report and then a Boston Globe article with what was supposed to be confidential details — former Terrier Colby Cohen has spoken out against the task force and in defense of coach Jack Parker.

Cohen first voiced his displeasure with the task force via Twitter on Wednesday when he called the findings “a joke,” adding “Boston University should be ashamed of the way they have handled this from the start.”

He went into more detail Saturday night in an interview with The Daily Free Press.

“This whole thing has been very, very much exaggerated,” Cohen said via phone.

Cohen played under Parker for three seasons between 2007 and 2010 before signing with the Colorado Avalanche and forgoing his senior year. He said in his time at the school he had good relationships with many students and professors, some of whom he is still in contact with.

He said he never had any incidents similar to the womanizing ones described by the Globe, and he spoke to the idea of a brotherhood that often prevents players from getting themselves into bad situations.

“That kind of stuff is taken very seriously amongst guys, amongst players professionally, in college, in juniors,” said Cohen, who is now in the Boston Bruins organization. “Guys police each other for that kind of stuff. A couple guys’ lack of judgment, I don’t think it creates a culture like is being said.”


Boston Globe reports details from task force investigation

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

When the hockey task force released its findings on Wednesday, it said there is “a culture of sexual entitlement” among some players on the team. Those findings were further detailed in a report from the Boston Globe on Friday, which cited investigation documents and described multiple incidents that reflected that statement.

Among these incidents was a female student who told the task force that a player had “shoved his hands down her pants at a party and refused to stop even as she was punching him.”

The story also notes a student who mentioned a Facebook posting in which hockey players refer to their sexual conquests as “kills.”

According to the Globe, there was a post-NCAA championship party at Agganis Arena in 2009 in which “dozens of guests drank from kegs in the locker room showers and took to the ice naked to shoot pucks.” BU coach Jack Parker initially denied hearing about the party, but later admitted he knew of “a few guys drinking in the locker room.”

Later in the article, Parker was criticized by a team member, who said he “cares too much about hurting the important players’ feelings … He’ll criticize, then apologize.”

The team is not commenting on the story at this time.

Hockey task force releases findings: The highlights

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

The hockey task force called for by Boston University President Robert Brown in the spring released its report on Wednesday, which included a series of recommendations that BU and BU Athletics have already started to implement. For those of you that don’t want to sift through the entire report and Brown’s letter to the BU community, here are some highlights:

–Brown put the task force together in March following the December arrest of Corey Trivino and the February arrest of Max Nicastro, both for sexual assault charges.
–Given the arrests, the BU president wanted to look into the “culture and climate” of the team.
–The task force, led by BU Trustee Dr. Jonathan R. Cole and BU Provost Jean Morrison, was made up of 16 people, all of whom were either BU staff, faculty or trustees.
–The task force had six meetings as a whole and had further meetings within its three sub-comittees: one on performance and student life, one on team culture and climate, and one on sexual assault and sexual harassment.

–There is a “culture of sexual entitlement” among some players on the team
–“Assessment of team members’ recent disciplinary history did not reveal a pattern of infractions that was significantly different, in type or number, from the undergraduate population as a whole.”
–Members of the team often become isolated very quickly from the rest of the students “by virtue of their housing arrangements, having their own functionally exclusive training and competition venue, and the demands of team participation.”
–The team’s academic performance “falls below that of the undergraduate student body as a whole.”
–The fact that some BU players have been drafted by NHL teams contributes “to a culture and climate in which players may not be fully engaged in the academic, intellectual and extra-curricular activities” the way other students are.
–No NCAA infractions were found.

–Required “sexual assault prevention training on an annual basis” for the team.
–“A review of the processes and standards used by admissions for recruits” to make sure student-athletes “are academically prepared to be successful students.”
–Men’s hockey head coach Jack Parker should step down as the executive director of athletics.
–BU should not give student-athletes the option of enrolling in the Metropolitan College.
–BU should work with “local businesses, campus area bars, and restaurants” to “help ensure the safety of all students.”
–The team should review and re-write team rules. Said rules should include “clearly articulated expectations for players’ behavior both on and off the ice, as well as the disciplinary actions” that could result if players went against team policy.

Both Parker and Athletic Director Mike Lynch sent out statements following the task force findings release.

Parker said: “I think their summary of findings is accurate. More importantly, I feel their recommendations for action will help our team, other student-athletes and the student body in general to ensure a better all-around experience.

“I fully agree with the NCAA and task force’s recommendation to split up my two jobs. When asked to choose one or the other, it was easy for me to choose my position as our head hockey coach. My staff and I endorse the findings and it is our job to implement and monitor the recommendations that are specific to the hockey team.”

Lynch said the school has his department’s full support as it begins to put the recommendations into action — a process that has already begun.

“Throughout this process, we have ensured that the University administration and our athletic department continue to share the same goals in regards to our men’s ice hockey program and its future as part of BU’s campus life,” Lynch said. “This has been a challenging year, but we are ready to move forward as an even stronger athletic program.”

The Daily Free Press will have more on the task force on Thursday.