COLUMN: Immediate Move Ignites Holy War
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2013 00:03
I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to Notre Dame as they join the ACC. Before you check the masthead to make sure that you are indeed reading a paper that is distributed at Boston College, let me explain myself.
The Holy War is back on.
If we’re being truthful, it never really went off. With Notre Dame set to join Hockey East for the 2013-14 season, BC fans were still going to have the opportunity to scream their dislike of everything Irish from the stands in Conte during regular season play and possibly for the Hockey East tournament. This valuable addition to the Eagles’ Hockey East schedule, however, did not quite fill the gap that existed between this fall’s Notre Dame football game and the next one down the line, set to play in South Bend in the fall of 2015.
While the Big East started moving toward “rebranding,” a process which involved seven Catholic schools, Notre Dame not among them, breaking off and eventually taking the name with them, Notre Dame decided that the Big East was too turbid. As a result, its athletic department put forth an effort to join the ACC. Originally, the deal was that the Irish would remain in the Big East until the summer of 2014, joining the conference thereafter in all sports except for hockey and football.
On Tuesday, the news changed as it was revealed that Notre Dame and the Big East had struck a deal allowing Notre Dame to make the transition a year early.
While the football program remains independent, this entrance by the Irish will give Eagle fans another high profile sport to hate Notre Dame in. With this new date come the same logistics from the original move, including the fact that BC and Notre Dame will have annual home and home series in basketball.
Next year is shaping up to be big for BC basketball. Within hours of this series being confirmed for next year, Olivier Hanlan was named ACC rookie of the year. The squad that has suffered near-miss after near-miss during their conference play this season will come back blasting on all cylinders, and an early matchup with Notre Dame to kick off conference play could be just what the players need for motivation as they move into a competitive ACC season.
If the athletic department, as athletic director Brad Bates has assured since his appointment, wants to increase the student body’s interest in sports besides hockey and football, basketball among them, they have at their fingertips a surefire way to boost the excitement. In the absence of a ND/BC football and hockey weekend, turn a three-day stretch early in the winter into Holy War 2.0, a series of basketball and hockey games between the two now conference rivals. Such a weekend will not come easily, as BC would have to negotiate with both the ACC and Hockey East, but it would hold tremendous benefits.
These matchups would ignite the same enthusiasm that the previous years have seen with the football matchups. For the teams, this weekend would hold even more weight as these matchups will have a hand in their regular season ACC and Hockey East standings.
Start the weekend with a Friday night hockey grudge match. Then the next day, transform Conte into a basketball arena for a matinee. Finally, cap off the series with the second hockey game of the weekend on Saturday night.
The stages are set for an epic weekend of rivalry play, it is just down to scheduling negotiations to make it possible.