Cheer For Jack Parker On Friday (no, seriously)

Well, the blog, now in year two, is starting to get a pretty good rhythm to it.  Thursdays tend to be news and links leading in to the weekend.  Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are filled with game previews and recaps.  Mondays are all about the polls and awards, as well as more recapping of the weekend.  Tuesdays have become a chance to catch up with our recruits scattered around the continent.  And Wednesdays…well usually there’s not much going on for Wednesdays.  So in my desire to continue to evolve the blog and offer more original content to complement the news links and recruiting information, I’m going to try to write a piece every Wednesday on some issue surrounding UMass hockey, the university itself, or college hockey in general.

So for my first installment of whatever this feature should be named (Hump Day Happenings?  Minuteman Musings? Fear The Rambling?) I am making an odd request of you, my fellow UMass hockey fans.  Cheer for Jack Parker when he’s announced on Friday night.  I know, I know.  It’s a strange plea for me to be making.  When UMass is not involved there are a few other Hockey East teams I root for strongly.  Boston University is not one of them.  I have a lot of respect for the school (which I nearly attended until I wisely chose UMass instead) and the hockey team, one of the elite programs in college hockey history.  But if the Terriers win or lose and it’s not affecting UMass, I’m ambivalent.  I even have to admit that while I was trying my best to root for the conference representative at the 2009 Frozen Four, something inside me was enjoying the Terriers losing the championship.  Until Miami choked.

Of course when they enter the Mullins I treat the team as I do any opponent.  Usually with some kind of verbal (but not vulgar) hostility.  The Terriers are a fun team to hate.  It hasn’t hurt that there have been some great games played between these squads in recent years.  And the fact that the Terriers are usually always good, that they attract some of the best crowds to the Bill, and of course that they have Jack Parker behind their bench.  You know Parker, the guy who seems to rule Hockey East and has all the referees at his beck and call.  Plus he has all those goddamn wins (I don’t even want to think how many have come at the expense of the Minutemen).  Everybody hates a winner, right?  So I’ll admit that in the past when he has been announced or perhaps as he makes his way off and on the ice I might’ve yelled something or sent a boo in his general direction once or twice.

Not Friday.  Friday I’ll gladly be cheering Jack Parker when he brings his Terriers into the Mullins Center.  In late July Parker had heart bypass surgery to clear a blockage.  Amazingly, less than three months afterward he’s dedicated and perhaps just a little crazy enough to be behind the bench to guide his team through another college hockey season.  You have to admire that kind of loyalty to his team and profession to work that hard at recovery to be back so soon.  Just as you have to admire his three national championships, seven Hockey East titles, 21 Beanpots, and the countless players he has help hone their skills to reach the NHL or Olympics.  But he’s helped a lot more people than that, including our own Don Cahoon, who played at BU when Parker was an assistant and later coached under Parker as an assistant himself.  Toot mentioned on his radio show this week that he still talks to Parker a couple times a week.  And of course, it’s not just the players he has gotten into the pros, he’s had a positive effect on many players who have come into contact with him.  Probably especially so in the case of Travis Roy, the BU player who was paralyzed just 11 seconds into his college career, whom Parker has done so much for and still does to this day.  Roy has called him one of his closest friends.

Let’s face it.  Hockey East just wouldn’t be the same without Jack Parker.  Through the history of the league he has always continued to set the bar higher, contributing in a major way to the conference being known as an elite conference across the country.  College hockey is better because of him.  He won’t always be behind the bench at Agganis Arena, but after what were probably some harrowing days in July he at least will be for the forseeable future at least.  And for that I think he deserves some applause.


With the home opener upon us the Daily Collegian has an extensive season preview of the team, eight articles worth.

It was rumored and today the athletic department made official the time change for the 12/4 game against Lowell.  The game will now be played at 1pm to allow fans to travel to Boston where the basketball team will take on Boston College at 6:30pm.  And for that I’m thankful.

The game notes are up for this weekend’s game.

Dick Baker is reporting that Joel Hanley is back with the team but his status for Friday is unknown.


A lot of UMass mentions in this release about the Hartford Wolf Pack (soon to be the awkwardly named Connecticut Whale), with former captain Dean Stork and former assistant coach Bill Gilligan playing a part in getting former Harvard goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris a spot on the team.  Plus fans can start voting for Thomas Pöck for the All-Time Wolf Pack Team.


Sad to report that Lowell lost one of their hockey greats on the eve of his induction into their hockey hall of fame.