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Season of triumph ends with fifth national title for BC men's hockey team


By Reid Oslin | Chronicle Staff

Published: Apr. 12, 2012

Thousands of jubilant fans filled the O’Neill Library Plaza Tuesday evening to celebrate Boston College’s 2012 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey title and watch the unfurling of the University’s fifth championship banner in the sport.

“They are going to have to call the Conte Forum trophy case ‘The Jerry York Hardware Store’ pretty soon,” quipped special guest speaker US Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) JD ’76 as he looked over the array of championship trophies captured by Eagle hockey teams in recent years.

BC’s 2012 championship banner was unfurled from the top of O’Neill Library. (Photos by Lee Pellegrini)

Kerry, a former hockey player and devoted fan of the sport, joined a number of University and civic officials — including University President William P. Leahy, SJ, and Newton Mayor Setti Warren ’94 — in paying tribute to the Eagles, who won the top NCAA prize for the third time in five years with a hard-fought 4-1 victory over CCHA champion Ferris State University in the “Frozen Four” championship game in Tampa, Fla., last Saturday night.
“We are so excited to be here,” York told the gathering. “It’s almost surreal with the Towers on the Heights and we are all here celebrating what Boston College has achieved. We have had so many terrific teams over the years in a lot of different sports, we share this with the football and basketball and all 30 sports teams besides hockey.

“Growing up as a kid in Watertown three-and-a-half miles from here, I always dreamed about coming to Boston College,” said York, a 1967 graduate. “But never in my wildest imagination did I think that I would have an opportunity to coach here.

“I want to tell you how pleased I was and how proud I was with these players,” York said.  “They have done some remarkable things. This particular year is one that we are extremely proud of.”

“We have gotten great support from the student body,” team captain Tommy Cross ’12 told the crowd. “And this year, it was taken to a new level. We definitely appreciate it.”

Joining the newly minted NCAA champion Eagles were representatives from the previous four BC clubs that have won national titles in 1949, 2001, 2008 and 2010. Three members of the 1949 title squad — Edward Casey, Francis Harrington and former BC head coach Len Ceglarski — represented Boston College’s first championship team at Tuesday’s event. Current NHL players Ben Smith of the Chicago Blackhawks and Cam Atkinson of the Columbus Blue Jackets carried in the 2010 national championship trophy.

Team captain Tommy Cross stood out in a crowd of fans on O’Neill Plaza. (Photos by Lee Pellegrini)

 “I have taken a lot of shots in my life in politics,” said Kerry, “but [BC goaltender] Parker Milner took 112 shots and allowed only two goals [in NCAA Tournament play.] I think everybody here would agree that was an incredible performance.” Milner, a junior from Pittsburgh, was named Most Outstanding Player of the “Frozen Four” championship rounds.

Kerry promised that he would work to secure an invitation for York and the BC team to visit the White House later this spring.

As reigning champions, members of the Boston College team are scheduled to make an appearance at tonight’s Boston Bruins-Washington Capitals NHL playoff game in Boston’s TD Garden, and the team will also be honored at the Boston Red Sox-Texas Rangers game in Fenway Park next Wednesday.

To view a slideshow of the celebration, click here.