Eagles Rule Roost

Eagles Rule Roost

University celebrates hockey team's NCAA Frozen Four triumph

By Sean Smith
Chronicle Editor

On a glorious spring day, the Boston College community paid tribute Monday afternoon to its men of winter.

A jubilant crowd of well-wishers and special guests - including Gov. Paul Cellucci, '70, JD '73, and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino - packed Conte Forum to honor the national champion Eagles hockey team, which won the National Collegiate Athletic Association "Frozen Four" tournament Saturday night with a 3-2 overtime victory over defending champion North Dakota in Albany, NY.

BC had a 2-0 lead late in the third period before North Dakota rallied to tie. Krys Kolanos, '04, scored less than five minutes into the extra period to notch the win, giving the Eagles their second NCAA hockey championship, and first in 52 years.

Freshman Chuck Kobasew - named the Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player - and senior Mike Lephart each scored in the second period for BC's other goals.

WEEI-AM sports announcer Ted Sarandis served as master of ceremonies at Monday's celebration, where small children in kid-sized BC hockey shirts cheered the champions alongside elderly alumni and current students in maroon and gold regalia. One alumnus in the crowd received special notice: James Fitzgerald, '49, who scored the winning goal in BC's 1949 championship.

Brian Gionta (right) and Bobby Allen (left) watch fellow senior hockey captain Mike Lephart hoist the NCAA championship trophy during the celebration of the team's national title Monday in Conte Forum. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, thanking coach Jerry York and his players for "a memorable season," said their efforts exemplified BC as "an institution dedicated to excellence, in the classroom, the laboratory and the hockey rink."

Cellucci, preparing to start his new job as United States ambassador to Canada, said his last proclamation as governor was to designate April 9, 2001, as "BC Eagles Hockey Day in Massachusetts."

Menino extended his congratulations not only to the team but also to the parents "who drove you to the hockey rinks all those mornings."

"Wow!" said Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo as he began his remarks. "Does it get any better than this?" He rattled off an impressive list of group and individual achievements by the team's eight seniors, including 117 victories, four Frozen Four and three NCAA title game appearances.

York, who was treated to a standing ovation and cheers of "Jer-EE! Jer-EE!" by the crowd, thanked his assistants and support staff, and praised the players for "representing this world-class university in a world-class manner."

After senior captains Brian Gionta, Bobby Allen and Lephart offered their own thanks and praises, the moment the crowd had waited for arrived. To the strains of "We Are the Champions," the players skated around the rink holding aloft the NCAA championship trophy.

The team has at least one more celebration in its future: an invitation to the White House, on a date to be confirmed later.

 

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