Since 1952, the first two weeks in February have been nothing short of a religious experience for hockey fans in New England. The Beanpot — an annual hockey tournament that featues Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern — has been called Boston’s social event of the winter season. What makes it so special? Here are 10 things you need to know to get up to speed:
Boston University Terriers
BU is sometimes referred to as “Beanpot University” and the Terriers certainly have the hardware to back up that moniker. Boston University has won the Beanpot championship a record 29 times while compiling an all-time mark of 84-34 in tournament action. The Terriers have also scored the most goals (548) in Beanpot history while yielding the fewest (365).
Parker entered the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 853-441-112 in 39 years at the helm of Boston University. He is only the third college hockey coach to top 800 wins, and the first to do it with one team. While those numbers are certainly impressive, Parker’s exploits in Beanpot action are even more so. As a player, Parker won three consecutive Beanpot titles for BU (1966-1968) and has added 21 more championships during his time as coach of the Terriers.
Boston College Eagles
Boston College has a strong Beanpot tradition of its own as the Eagles hold more records than any other team. BC — winners of 16 Beanpot titles — has the most goals by one team in a period (7), the most goals by one team in a game (15) and the most goals by one team in a single tournament (19). The Eagles also have the most saves by one team in a game (52) and the largest margin of victory in a game (14).
Mullen starred at Boston College from 1976-79 and holds the record for most goals scored in Beanpot history with 10. A two-time All-American, he held the BC career scoring, goal and assist titles (110-102-212) when he graduated. Upon his retirement in 1997 Mullen was the all-time leading American-born point scorer in the NHL with 1,063 career points. That feat that has been equaled by only six other Americans since.
Harvard had great success in the early days of the Beanpot tournament as the Crimson played for the championship seven of the first 10 years. The Crimson were victorious four times during that span, including winning the very first Beanpot title by beating Boston University 7-4 in 1952. While Harvard hasn’t reached that same level of success in recent years the Crimson are still a dangerous foe on the first Monday of February.
Harvard’s Cavanagh is the Beanpot’s all-time leading scorer with 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists). The fact that his record still stands is quite an impressive feat as Cavanagh accomplished the feat in just three seasons (six games) since freshmen were ineligible to compete in varsity athletics at the time. While a member of the Crimson, Cavanagh earned All-American honors three consecutive seasons and was later inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame in 1994.
Northeastern ruled the Beanpot in the 1980s. The Huskies won all four of their tournament titles in that decade while also finishing as runner-up a pair of times. The 28th Beanpot — contested in 1980 — will forever be etched in the memory of the NU faithful as the Huskies won in dramatic fashion when Wayne Turner scored an overtime goal to lift Northeastern past Boston U. and to the first Beanpot title in program history.
Grinold, the Associate AD for Communications at Northeastern for more than 50 years, was officially inducted as the 53rd member of the Beanpot Hall of Fame in 2012. Known as an original “Beanpotter” and the chairman of the tournament’s Hall of Fame, Grinold also serves as the secretary of the annual winter tournament. Grinold is regarded as the “dean of New England sports information directors” and was elected to the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame in 1994.
The Boston Garden
This legendary venue played home to the Beanpot from 1954-95. Boston’s premier winter sporting event was held at the Garden 41 times during that span and saw countless classic finishes, including overtime games in 1955, ’57, ’80, ’87 and ’94. The Garden’s hockey rink was undersized — nine feet shorter and two feet narrower than standard — which made for fast-paced and physical play, especially during the Beanpot.
The Blizzard of 1978
The 1978 Beanpot has long been one of the most memorable, as several hundred fans were stuck in the Boston Garden for days after the Blizzard of 1978 dumped more than two feet of snow during the night of the first-round games. The championship and consolation games had to be moved to March 1 marking the only time since 1958 that the Beanpot tournament was not concluded during the first two Mondays of February.