Hub Celebrates Glacial Garden Party
Boston's answer to the Kentucky Derby? Perhaps the Marathon will take credit for that status, but this evening's affair at the Boston Garden does. In its own parochial manner, have all the surrounding festivity of the traditionally, renowned sports events.
That the first two Mondays of February were chosen for the 23rd annual Beanpot Hockey Tournament was not an arbitrary decision. Boston's sporting life enters winter hibernation just about the time the Harvard-Yale. B.C. Holy Cross football games close out the fall season.
Although Christmas and St. Patrick's Day do provide a distraction to the Beantown's biting cold winter the moratorium between fall football and the hoopla of April's playoff's and Red Sox opener needed something big to tide seasons over. Thus the Beanpot (as in Boston baked) was born.
Former Boston College coach John "Snooks" Kelly was around for the inauguration of the tournament back in 1952. Kelly said yesterday that the first years of the tournament were leans ones but. "I've seen it grow to what it is today: the finest athletic event of the seat in town," he said.
B.U. captain Vic Stanfield concurred "The Beanpot is the first leg in the triple crown of college hockey and it is the game people always remember The FCAC and NCAA playoffs seems to take a back seat to the Beanpot." he said.
The Beanpot, however is more than just college hockey. "It's a social event of the first order." Ralph "Cooney" Weiland, former Crimson mentor said yesterday. "The Beanpot is a reunion of old time college hockey fans and I think tomorrow's game could well be the best final of all."
Boston Garden concessionaire Jim Rizzo had a slightly different perspective of the Tourney. "It's a good beer night, there are five intermissions [two games] and the crowd is a lot more carefree than, say, a Bruins crowd. It's mostly a college group, but everyone is a little more rah rah. I like it," he said yesterday.
It's a uniquely Boston affair and whether you approach it after corned beet and cabbage at Durgin Park or with dogs and "beah" from the second balcony, the Beanpot is a charmer.
"When I came here from Canada four years ago," Randy Roth said. "I knew nothing of the Beanpot. Each year I've become more fond of it. It's a very emotional game.
The alpha and omega of college hockey gets under way tonight at 6:15 p.m. with B.C. pitted against Northeastern in the consolation round and Harvard facing off against cross-river rival B.U. at 9 p.m.
Catch you between the periods for a couple of beers. It's the Beanpot, you know.