Transcript: Jack Parker following number retirement ceremony

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

Following his number retirement ceremony during the first intermission of Boston University’s 4-1 win over Northeastern Friday night, former coach Jack Parker — never one short for words — met with the media to discuss the transition to retirement, the state of BU hockey and his relationship with David Quinn, among other topics.
Here is a transcript.
On having his number retiredObviously joining Travis Roy, I never thought that was a good idea, maybe a new coach would change it, but I never thought it was a good idea. I always wanted other people to wear the same number that somebody else who was a great player here [wore]. In our dressing room, in everybody’s locker we have whoever wore your number on the wall, so they know who wore their number before them.

It was awful nice to have that happen. As I mentioned, and I think we’re not retiring a great player’s number, we’re retiring a guy who played here but also was a coach here for 40 years. The reason I was the coach her for 40 years was because I had so many great players. It’s as simple as that.

On the transition to retirement and watching from a distance Actually, it’s a lot easier than I thought. I’ve turned the page pretty quickly, and I’m real close with David Quinn obviously, and I’m not around for him too much — I don’t want to be looking for his shoulder. We have a great relationship. We have lunch once a week but we don’t talk too much about hockey. We socialize.

But I’m trying to stay away from the hockey. I come to the games with my grandchildren and watch the games, but I haven’t seen all the games, I’ve seen probably about one-third at home.

And I’ve been away a lot. I did a few things for BU on road trips or functions. They wanted me out in L.A. and Dallas and San Fran and places like that. And I’ve also had the chance to take some winter vacations that I’ve never had a chance to do before. I’ve gotten into skiing a little bit. I just started taking lessons skiing, so I’m going to see if I like to do that if I can not kill myself.

But in general I thought it’s been pretty easy. I’m really happy that the program’s in good hands with David, I’m really happy that they have a great recruiting class coming next year — the next two years actually — and I think that the program will jump back from this year very quickly.

On the number retirement ceremony happening on senior night It was supposed to happen earlier and it got snowed out [Feb. 15], and I think it was even better that it was senior night, to see all these guys. Obviously I have a close relationship with all of them, especially the captains, so it was really nice.

On which alumni were in attendance Mike Grier’s here, Jay Pandolfo’s here, Travis Roy’s here, Danny Ronan’s here, Matty Gilroy’s here, Marc Hetnik’s here, Jack O’Callahan’s here, Eddie Walsh is here. There are a few of them around. And there are other guys not in the [luxury] box, that are in the seats.

On the significance of former players visiting as the program tries to rebuild I think it’s important for them to know what happened before, but that’s why they came here. I think it’s nice there was a big crowd here tonight. We haven’t drawn well lately. It was a real nice crowd here tonight, so I appreciate that, the fans showing up. It’s good for the players to see that and get the support they need.

On if he’s surprised this year’s team has struggled Eh, I guess I’m surprised a little bit. I’m not immensely surprised because we got surprised by guys leaving that we didn’t think were going to be leaving, and a couple of them were real late leaves. We’d have a pretty good team if Charlie Coyle and Adam Clendening and Sahir Gill and Matt Nieto were still here. There all supposed to be seniors — that’d be a pretty good club right now. So losing those guys really hurt. Losing Nieto and Gill as late as we did really hurt. And we also lost a couple of others guys that left the program, so it’s a real thin team this year that we haven’t had to face before. It looked like it was going to be a good team coming back because we made it to the Hockey East final last year, we were third place in the league, we had a pretty good second-half run and looked like a pretty good hockey team. And now all of a sudden, guys started leaving. So that really hurt the program. The guys that are leaving are gone, and the guys that are coming in are great, so we’re in pretty good shape right after that.

On the ovation for Travis Roy I always say, the worst that ever happened to me in 40 years of coaching the Boston University hockey team or my 49 years of being around the program was the injury to Travis Roy. And the best thing that ever happened to me was the way the BU community and the hockey community reacted to the injury to Travis Roy, how Travis and his family reacted to it.

It was a tale of two cities. The worst of times and the best of times. And amazing how it worked out, how proud he’s made us of him.

On whether David Quinn has asked him for advice Yeah, we talk a little bit. As I say, I’m not going down talking to him. My office is right down the hall from him, and if he wants to see me — if I’m there — if he wants to see me, he can come down and say hello. But we talk at least once or twice a week, but it’s not ‘You out to do this, David, or you out to do that.’ I kind of of let him vent about how he’s feeling and what’s going on. It’s been a hard year for him to go through.

On whether or not he misses his old office Yeah, it was pretty nice. I have a nice one now too, but not quite as big. My brother said we could rent it out for functions.