Boston College men’s hockey head coach Jerry York was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020 on Thursday night.
York, the winningest coach in college hockey, has been at the helm of BC’s program since 1994 and has been coaching Division I hockey for 50 years. In his half-century tenure, he has earned 1,116 career wins at three different programs: Clarkson University, Bowling Green State University, and BC.
Since starting at BC—his alma mater—in 1994, York has led the Eagles to four NCAA Championships, nine Hockey East Tournament Championships, and 11 Hockey East Regular Season Championships. He is the all-time leader in NCAA Tournament wins with 41 and has brought 12 Frozen Four berths to the Heights.
BC men’s hockey’s 100th season marks the 76-year-old Watertown, Mass. native’s 28th year leading the program.
“I enjoy it,” York said in an interview with NHL.com ahead of his Hall of Fame induction. “I wake up every day with a real good feeling about what I do for a living. I have excitement in my step as I get in the car and come over to BC for practices or games. … People call it passion. I’m not sure what the real word for it is. But [it’s] the excitement of getting on the ice, making our team better. I just love being in the team atmosphere. I will go as long as I have that feeling.”
York spent seven years on the coaching staff at Clarkson University, both as an assistant and head coach. He then served as the head coach at Bowling Green for 15 years before coming back to BC in 1994. Under his leadership, Bowling Green won the National Championship in 1984, making York one of only three coaches in NCAA history to win a National Championship at more than one school.
Before starting his coaching career, York—a “triple eagle”—played hockey for Boston College High School. He then came to the Heights to play 81 games for BC. He totaled 64 goals and 70 assists in his three years on the ice—freshmen were not allowed to play for the varsity team at the time. He led the Eagles to a 60–26 record, the 1965 Beanpot title, and a second place finish in the 1965 NCAA Tournament.
York credits the guidance of his own former coaches in shaping him as a player and coach.
“What I learned from them was ideally, you’re a team,” York said in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech. “That’s the most important thing I learned, being a great teammate and part of a team or pursuing a common goal. This is what drives me in hockey.”
He was inducted into BC’s Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1982—before his coaching tenure even began—and his jersey was retired in April 2010 after BC’s third National Championship with York at the helm.
“Not many of us get the chance to coach at the Division I level,” York said in an interview with the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. “But you’re coaching your alma mater, that’s certainly something I appreciate very, very much.”
Joining York in the 2020 induction class were Dean Blais, Tony Granato, and Jenny Schmidgall-Potter. The induction ceremony, which was held in Denver, enshrined members of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 and Class of 2021, as the original Class of 2020 ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19.
During his acceptance speech, York said that the most special part of his attendance to the ceremony was that he was able to share the honor with family members, BC administrators and supporters, former teammates, and players he’s coached. He acknowledged the importance of building relationships in the game of hockey.
“You have to have that special feeling [of] ‘I’m gonna play really, really well and really, really hard, maybe not for the university, maybe not for the coach, but for the guys I look right across the dressing room at,’” York said in his acceptance speech. “As you talk about hockey and passion for hockey, make sure that X’s and O’s and systems and power plays … that’s all secondary to what you get in that locker room.”
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Senior Staff