It won't--at least for the foreseeable future--be 15,000 emotion-crazed fanatics screaming their minds out at a jam-packed Boston Garden, but at least it's a start. The first annual women's Beanpot hockey tournament will be held next month.
The four teams you would expect to be there--Harvard, Northeastern, Boston College and Boston University--will compete in the two-day affair (March 16-17) at old, cold but roomy Boston Arena, where the men's tournament was first held in 1952.
Opening round match-ups, announced earlier this week, pit the Crimson against Northeastern's Huskies at 9 p.m. Friday, preceded by B.C. vs. B.U. at 7 p.m. The final and consolation games will take place the following night.
"The idea's been kicked around for some time--we hope it will give some needed exposure to women's hockey and women's sports in general," Paula Dumart, coach of the Northeastern club, said yesterday. The Huskies boast a 5-4 mark this season, including shutout victories over B.C. and the University of Vermont, and should be favored to take the inaugural title.
Dumart added that Harvard's Watson Rink is the tentative site for next year's tournament.
In a pleasant surprise for the Crimson, a committee of four Ivy League coaches Monday seeded Harvard second in next weekend's league tournament--thus giving the team a bye in the first round. Cornell, which has won all three previous Ivy championships, was ranked first.
A week from today(4:30 p.m., at Brown) Harvard will play the winner of Friday's contest between Brown and Princeton. The Crimson tied Brown in overtime, 4-4, on a late penalty shot goal by Tania Huber last December 9 in Providence, but has not met Princeton.
"When the season started, I was just hoping we would get ranked fourth or fifth and then bang!--maybe we could surprise someone," Joe Bertagna, coach of the Crimson and a member of the seeding committee, said yesterday.
But Bertagna, whose squad has won six of its last eight games, added, "We've come on so strong recently that I don't think that would work anymore. Now we're intent on winning the thing."