It’s been three-and-a-half years since Charlie Coyle left the Boston University men’s hockey team midseason to pursue his professional career, but it doesn’t change how much his time at BU meant to him.
“Everyone has their own path, the way they want to go,” he said. “That’s the path I chose, and I enjoyed my time here. It was awesome, it was my dream school to come here, and the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do was to leave here.”
Growing up in Weymouth, Coyle watched a few games at Walter Brown Arena and dreamed of suiting up for the Terriers. He never hit the ice in the historic rink for a game during his collegiate career, but he got the chance to in the first annual Comm Ave Charity Classic to benefit Compassionate Care ALS on Friday night.
Coyle, along with 17 other BU alums, 18 Boston College alums and a few special guests, took part in a game that pitted old rivals against each other to help raise awareness and over $55,000 for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
“You want to help out as much as you can, so I think when every guy got the text, they wanted to play today, kind of jumped at the opportunity and they’re happy to do it,” Coyle said.
The Minnesota Wild forward netted a hat trick in the process and guided BU to a 7-5 win over the Eagles. And though the game was just for fun, Coyle said the intensity of the BC-BU rivalry never wanes.
“I think it goes as long as you live,” Coyle said. “You see those guys wherever you go in life, and you always come back to BC-BU … Everyone kind of knows each other, but once you’re on the ice and you’re playing, BC-BU, it’s a whole different story and it’s just a huge rivalry. It’s competitive, and that’s what makes it such a cool tradition, so I was fortunate to be a part of it and be part of it again tonight.”
He also reiterated just how much being a member of the Terriers contributed to him becoming the player and professional he is today.
“Coming to BU helped me tremendously,” Coyle said. “Like I said, it’s where I wanted to go, where I wanted to come my whole life and being here, being coached by Jack Parker and playing with some of these guys behind me, it was awesome. I made a lot of friends, became a better player and it’s helped me at the professional level. Work outs … everything, everything, the school, just everything.”
Scott Young feels not so young
For BU, roster spots on Friday night weren’t as readily filled with current NHL talent as those of its BC counterparts. Some had a prior commitment, as former Terrier Brandon Yip’s wedding is this weekend.
But what the scarlet and white lacked in that area, they made up for with veteran talent, including the likes of former BU standout and ex-NHLer Scott Young.
Currently the Director of Hockey Operations for the Terriers, Young won the Stanley Cup on two occasions — once with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and again with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996. He also donned the red, white and blue for Team USA in three Olympic Games and served as the head coach of St. Marks School in Southborough from 2010 until he returned to BU in 2014. The forward has collected various other accolades in his hockey career, including Hockey East Rookie of the Year in 1986, and racked up 756 career points in 1,186 NHL games.
It seems even after all this time, Young’s still got it.
“Young was the best guy on the ice,” said former BU goaltender Anthony Moccia after his team’s win. “He was talking before, about all, ‘oh, I’m out of shape’ — yeah, right, Coach!”
At one point in the game Friday, Young was exiting the defensive zone and a teammate tried to get the puck up to him to start a rush.
“He tried to lob it over my shoulder, and I ducked so it could land in front of me and I could skate into it,” Young said. “It landed on my shoulder, and kind of hung there for a little bit. It was kind of awkward.”