Off-Ice News

Beanpot Media Day notebook

It’s inching closer and closer to the start of trophy season for Boston’s college hockey teams, with pucks dropping for the Beanpot semifinals just a week from today. 

Ahead of those games on the first Monday of February, a Beanpot Media day was held Monday afternoon with head coaches and captains of the four tournament schools, as well as the newest member of its Hall of Fame — Pittsburgh Penguins head coach, and former Terrier, Mike Sullivan. 

The event, hosted by NESN’s Tom Caron, brought the coaches and captains from each of the semifinals matchups on stage for an informal Q&A. 

A notebook from the day, below. 

Boston University and Boston College rematch

College hockey fans will not have to wait long for a rematch of last weekend’s Battle of Comm Ave series because BU and BC are playing in the opening round of the Beanpot Tournament in the 8 p.m. game. 

“Obviously today’s a tough time to have a Beanpot Luncheon after being swept, so Greg [Brown]’s probably feeling a little better than I am,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo joked at the opening of the Q&A. 

Both coaches also reflected on how the atmosphere of the games this past weekend. 

“We didn’t get the results we wanted but it was just great to see, I think [for] college hockey it shows how great it is [and] how great the players are,” Pandolfo said. 

Caron remarked how the hype around the series showed how the popularity of college hockey had risen, something that both coaches agreed with. 

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

“There’s a big wave of enthusiasm going on right now and I think it’s a credit to the kids, I think the level of hockey in Hockey East right now is as high as it’s been,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. 

The Terriers will have a chance to make good on their performance in what was, arguably, the biggest series of the year. 

“It was definitely disappointing,” BU captain Case McCarthy said before the Q&A on Monday. “Obviously losing sucks, but losing to those guys is no fun as well.” 

If losing a series to your biggest rival wasn’t enough to get the team locked in going into the Beanpot, the Terriers also have the added motivation of finishing in last place in last year’s Beanpot. 

“I think coming into this year, it definitely factors into that chip [on our shoulders] and the understanding that again, these games are hard to win with the emotion and momentum so we’ll be on top of our game on Monday night,” McCarthy said. 

What the tournament means to the program

Pandolfo and McCarthy couldn’t understate how important the Beanpot trophy is not just for this year’s team, but the program in general. 

“It’s huge,” McCarthy said. “It’s your first opportunity to play for some hardware, it’s playoff hockey in February, you learn how to win games, fight through some adversity, and compete in these one game sets. So, it’s huge for us.”

Pandolfo, who will be the head coach in his second Beanpot Tournament this year, shared that former BU head coach Jack Parker calmed him down after his team lost in the consolation game last year. 

“It’s very difficult to win and our team had a tough time last year, losing both games. Coach Parker made me feel a little better when he called me and told me he lost his first Beanpot,” Pandolfo said. 

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

Parker was on hand at the luncheon to help induct his former player Mike Sullivan into the Beanpot Hall of Fame and talked about the school’s dominance in the Beanpot Tournament. 

“I used to say to kids that if you want to play in the Beanpot you only got four schools you can choose. Of course if you want to win a Beanpot, that narrows it down a little,” Parker said. 

Parker won 21 Beanpot titles as coach of the Terriers, two of which he won when Pandolfo was a player on the team. 

“It’s a great time of year,” Pandolfo said. “You can’t replicate this anywhere else. This tournament for the first two months of February, it’s pretty special.”

Mike Sullivan inducted into Beanpot Hall of Fame

It was announced Monday that Mike Sullivan will be inducted into the Beanpot Hall of Fame in a ceremony held before the Championship game on Feb. 12. 

Sullivan, who is currently serving in his ninth season as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, called it “an incredible honor” to be inducted. 

“Coach Parker called me a month or so ago and shared that news with me and I was elated, it’s such an honor to be recognized with such a great tournament,” Sullivan said. 

Sullivan played for BU from 1986-1990, scored a game winning goal in the 1988 edition of the Beanpot Tournament and won another as a senior. 

My time at BU was some of the greatest experiences that I’ve had as a hockey player,” Sullivan said. 

Photo from BU Athletics, Boston Globe.

Parker joked about how Sullivan was a rare case of a Terrier who was recruited out of Boston College High School.

“We didn’t get that too often,” Parker said. 

Parker also jokingly suggested that Sullivan, a native of Marshfield, MA, rooted for the Eagles in the tournament when he attended games as a kid. 

Sullivan also addressed the players from all four schools who were in the room for the luncheon. 

“I would just say embrace the moment and enjoy every minute of it while you’re there because it’s fleeting. It’s some of the most memorable moments that you’ll have as a college hockey player,” he said. 

As the Q&A wrapped up, Sullivan gave a special shout out to the players competing for a Beanpot title at his alma mater.

“I wish all of you the best of luck. I wish BU the very best of luck,” he said.

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