Column: March Madness On Ice Has Given Superfans A Reason To Believe Again
Published: Monday, March 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
We are another week into the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and knocking at the door of the Final Four, and it’s safe to say that my bracket–or rather, what’s left of it–hasn’t fared too well amidst the annual tradition of dream-crushing upsets. The unjust wrath of the bracketology gods had almost driven me to seek comfort in watching MLB spring training games and the uninspiring brand of hoops that the NBA offers us just to look away from a harsh reality. As each of my pre-tournament predictions was shattered on national television, I felt more and more like a fraudulent basketball Nostradamus.
Yet whether because of my capitulating frustration or Boston College Superfan allegiance, I’ve held faith in the old maxim of “If it doesn’t work the first time, put it on ice.” Though there is substantial evidence that disproves this idea (if you were ever forced to go see Toy Story or Beauty and the Beast “On Ice” as a kid, you know what I’m talking about), the excitement generated by the NCAA men’s hockey tournament this time of year makes for a completely different and far more inviting world of March Madness: “March Madness on Ice.”
Okay, so maybe that title does sound like an ill-fated Disney adventure and fails to do any justice for the hard-hitting, fast-paced brand of hockey the collegiate circuit has to offer. For BC fans like me, however, it’s the chance to be involved in a championship run that we could not vicariously experience through our struggling football team or our rebuilding basketball squad. Head coach Jerry York’s Eagles have certainly given Superfans reason to believe again, especially after we’ve persevered through consistent disappointment and resignation to defeat with many of our other teams.
Of course, for years–and particularly during York’s tenure–the men’s hockey team has been a model of success and consistency here at BC. It may be easy to take for granted the fact that the Eagles have earned three straight Beanpot championships and two national titles in only the past five seasons. It’s also easy to forget that the untimely ending to BC’s 2010-2011 season in the first round of NCAA tournament play meant the departure of many key team veterans and the start of an era of uncertainty for a young Eagles squad.
So the fact that this year’s BC team managed to overcome the obstacles created by a youthful roster and periods of maddening inconsistency, and still garner college hockey’s top overall tournament seed, thanks to its longest winning streak under York, is something to be proud of. The Conte Forum faithful have been fortunate enough to witness freshman newcomer Johnny Gaudreau develop into an up-and-coming star in collegiate hockey, watch the clutch emergence of goaltender Parker Milner during the season’s most crucial stages, and admire how the sound leadership exhibited by the squad’s three veteran captains–Tommy Cross, Barry Almeida, and Paul Carey–allowed the Eagles to soar higher than most could have anticipated this year.
Perhaps it’s never easy to be a devout Superfan. The ups and downs of every college sports season could easily turn any fan into a cynic, and the struggles of this year’s BC athletic programs have challenged both our patience and dedication. For these reasons, York’s squad has proven to be a well-deserved diamond in the rough of a trying year for BC sports. This group of Eagles has given us countless reasons to celebrate the present and eagerly look forward to the future. Capturing the Broadmoor Trophy, college hockey’s most coveted prize, would be the storybook ending for a hard-fought season. But regardless of the outcome against Minnesota-Duluth in the Elite Eight round, the BC men’s hockey team ought to hold their heads high.