By Brian Foisy
Friday night’s home game for the Boston University women’s hockey team not only celebrated the accomplishments of this year’s senior class prior to the final regular season game of their collegiate careers, but also the accomplishments of Coach Brian Durocher.
Eighteen years, 336 wins, 6 NCAA tournament appearances and one Beanpot title later, Durocher retires as the first and only women’s hockey coach in team history.
“Everyday coming to the rink has been a good day,” Durocher said following Friday’s game, “I was lucky to be that person who had some good fortune come my way.”
When asked postgame about his favorite memories over the years, Durocher talked about the first practice he had with the team back in 2005.
“It was a grand day with all this sparkling brand new equipment, the lights were shining, and it was a great day with that initial group,” Durocher said. “I think that first group always has a little bit of a spot in my heart because 10 of them made it through all four years. They were kind of a foundation and we were a pretty good team in their third and fourth year.”
Along with Durocher, seven Terrier seniors and graduate students were honored before the game. These included Andrea Brandli, Brooke Ersoy, Alex Allan, Jesse Devito, Haylee Blinkhorn, Julia Nearis and Nadia Mattivi.
In total, this graduating group turned in 56 goals for the Terriers over their years on the team. A large portion of that came from Nearis who gave BU 30 in her time wearing scarlet and white.
Captain Mattivi, who scored the Terriers’ lone goal in the matchup, was honored specifically with the playing of the Italian national anthem prior to the game Friday. Mattivi could be seen smiling and singing along as the BU Band saluted her home country.
Graduate goalie Brändli, who won a national title last year at Ohio State, was also honored before the game. Brändli transferred into Boston University this year and has heavily contributed to this team’s turnaround in the last few weeks. Brändli, who also competed in the 2022 Winter Olympics for Switzerland, gave BU 689 saves in the regular season this year.
The Terriers will have an opportunity on Wednesday to hopefully avenge their 4-1 loss on senior night as they face off against Merrimack in the opening round of the Hockey East Tournament.
While the team is currently focused on the near future of their Wednesday matchup against Merrimack, Durocher still gave some thoughts about the most distant future, offering some lessons and philosophies he hopes stay with the program in the coming years.
“We’ve talked an awful lot about taking on conflict and solving problems on your own,” Durocher said. “We’ve really talked about the kids preparing themselves for life to deal with conflicts, whether it’s your company, your boss, your family.”
Durocher also talked about how his style of coaching, and demeanor in life, strays from his great uncle and baseball hall of fame, Leo Durocher.
Leo Durocher was a manager of several National League baseball teams, spending time over a 37 year coaching career with the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers as well as the Cubs, Giants and Astros. Durocher, who seems to be the exact opposite of his grand-nephew, was known as a hothead.
“He always believed ‘nice guys finish last’,” Durocher said, quoting a phrase that his grand uncle actually coined and used as the title of his memoir. “Well, I’m trying to prove him wrong and be a good guy and make sure those young ladies know that I care about them now and in the future.”