Billed as the first annual Comm Ave Classic, a reasonably competitive exhibition between notable Boston College and Boston University hockey alumni at a Walter Brown Arena raised $55,250 for the Compassionate Care ALS foundation while injuring zero participants.
Those two figures made this unique midsummer classic, which honored ALS patients and Pete Frates, BC ’09, as well as late assistant athletic director for media relations Dick Kelley, BC ’87, a success. The NCAA-ineligible Terriers defeated the NCAA-ineligible Eagles 7-5 in a game that made up for a lack of physicality with few stoppages in play and no commercial breaks, sending the audience home happy and earlier than expected.
BC head coach Jerry York’s roster of former Eagles spanned nearly two decades of graduation classes and was bookended by Hall of Famer and Hobey Baker Finalist Brian Leetch, BC ’87 and 2014 Hobey Baker Winner Johnny Gaudreau, BC ’15. Those two treated the crowd to some short and long-term nostalgia when Leetch assisted on Gaudreau’s first period goal.
Leetch, whom will be available for over-50 age men’s leagues in need of a power play quarterback in just three years, fed Bill Arnold, BC ’14, in the slot, and Arnold gave a no look backhand pass to former linemate at the back post. Gaudreau buried it, presumably because Kevin Hayes, BC ’14, was on the ice at the time as well and that trio needed to produce a goal together or else the game would not have been realistic enough.
In the third and final 17-minute frame, players on both sides ratcheted up the competitiveness. There was less cherry picking for breakaways and a lot more defense. With BC down 5-4, Gaudreau showed why he received the biggest cheer of all the Eagles during introductions by tossing a two line, cross ice saucer pass to Hayes, which lead to the tying goal off the stick of, of course, Arnold.
Unfortunately for York, he had just four defensemen at his disposal and three of them, Mike Mottau, BC ’00, Leetch, and Greg Brown, BC ’90 are long retired from professional hockey. This lead to all five BC skaters being forwards occasionally, and one of those instances lead to a BU odd man rush that resulted in Will O’Neill’s (whom somehow went to Maine) game-winning goal with 1:52 left. York’s squad made a push thereafter, even becoming visibly aggrieved after a questionable offsides call went against them, before Charlie Coyle BU ’14 iced the game for the Terriers with an empty netter. The combative finish to the night enhanced an already worthwhile experience for all involved.
The non-aforementioned BC alumni that participated in the Comm Ave Classic were Cory Schneider, BC ’08, Brian Dumoulin, BC ’13, Stephen Gionta, BC ’06, Jimmy Hayes, BC ’12, Brian Boyle, BC ’07, Joe Whitney, BC ’11, Brian Gibbons, BC ’11, Chris Kreider, BC ’13, Dave Spina, BC ’05, Paul Carey, BC ’12, Patrick Brown, BC ’14, and John Muse, BC ’11.
Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Senior Staff