For nearly 67 years the city of Boston has been home to one of the most storied tournaments in college hockey: The Beanpot.
Enticing fans of both college hockey and Boston sports alike, the Beanpot brings together a city and sports fan base like not many other games can. To get ready for the 2019 games, here’s all your Beanpot hockey questions, answered.
What is the Beanpot tournament?
The Beanpot is an annual tournament contested between four of Boston’s men’s hockey programs: Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University and Northeastern. It’s the same four teams, every year, playing in two semifinal games with the winners advancing to compete for the title.
When is it played?
The first two Mondays in February. For 2019, the schedule is as follows:
Monday, Feb. 4 2019 @ 5 p.m. ET — Boston College vs. Harvard
Monday, Feb. 4 2019 @ 8 p.m. ET — Boston University vs. Northwestern
Monday, Feb. 11 2019 @ 4:30 p.m. — Consolation game
Monday, Feb. 11 2019 @ 7:30 p.m. — Championship game
How did this all start?
According to the Beanpot’s website, the first games were scheduled as filler games for the first two nights after Christmas in 1952, to help the Boston Arena (now Matthews Arena — the Beanpot’s original location) on off nights.
The games moved to the Boston Garden in January 1954 and were played a few days apart for the next couple of years. By the 5th Beanpot in 1957, the “first two Mondays in February” schedule was adopted, and the rest was history.
So this is all for a pot of beans?
Pretty much. When the tournament started in 1952 it was called the New England Invitational Hockey Tournament, but The Boston Globe reported on it as ''The so-called Bean Pot,'' — a nod to Boston's history with baked beans, undoubtedly — and the moniker stuck. The history isn't exactly clear, but after a few tournaments without any hardware to award a bean pot was fashioned as the trophy — sans beans.
And why do these four teams want to play this matchup?
City pride, bragging rights and the chance to have your name mentioned in a piece of history? All good reasons. Originally, all four teams were members of the ECAC, so not only were local bragging rights at stake — conference points were as well. Now only Harvard is left in the ECAC and the other three teams belong to Hockey East. However, games just count as a non-conference match-up in current tournaments, but the rivalry and excitement has remained.
Okay, sure. But why should I watch the games?
Do you like hockey? Watch it. Fan of sports in general? Sell-out crowds make this series exciting no matter the year or matchups. Are you from Boston? It would almost be impressive if you haven’t seen a Beanpot game yet. Take this as your cue.
These four teams are perennially some of the best in college hockey. Look no further for a stage set to host some amazing sports moments. How about Northeastern skating to a 5-2 win in last year’s championship to snap a 30 year Beanpot drought? Or Boston College edging out rival Boston University in overtime to claim the 2016 title? That rivalry in and of itself is enough reason to tune in. Not a single Beanpot tournament has gone by where either Boston College, Boston University or both teams have competed in the final championship game.
So, we’ve all agreed to check back in once February rolls around. Until then, here’s a quick glance at the Beanpot teams:
Boston U. has claimed 30 Beanpot tournament championships, most recently winning in 2015 after securing a 4-3 double overtime win against Harvard in semifinal action to be able to defeat Northeastern in a 4-3 overtime championship win.
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The Terriers boast a 90-42 overall record in Beanpot action and have competed in the final matchup 53 times in the tournaments history.
The Eagles have a similarly impressive track record as their city counterpart. Boston College has 20 Beanpot titles, including an impressive trophy run from 2010-2014.
BC boasts a 78-54 overall tourney record. Combined with Boston University, the two schools hold 50 of the Beanpot titles. So about 76 percent of the time, you’re going to see team with the word “Boston” on its jersey hoisting the trophy.
Most recently, Harvard took home the Beanpot trophy in 2017 after a 6-3 win in the title game over Boston University. The Crimson have claimed 11 titles overall, including the very first Beanpot title in 1952.
Perhaps the underdog in some Beanpot tourneys, Northeastern certainly showed up for last year’s tournament when the Huskies were the decided Cinderella team — snapping a 30 year long Beanpot title drought.
Northeastern dominated the Beanpots of the 80’s, winning 4 trophies within the decade. The Huskies have a 41-91 overall record, but last year’s win could be the beginning of changing tides.
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Callan Sheridan is a graduate of Saint Peter's University and has produced content for The Press Enterprise, the American Junior Golf Association and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Follow her on twitter at @calsh_13.