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Needham’s Eddie Barry, cofounder of Codfish Bowl, built a hockey showcase

The Codfish Bowl, the second-oldest invitational college hockey tournament in the country, was started in 1965 by Boston State College’s first and only hockey and golf coach, Needham resident Eddie Barry, and its athletic director, the late Gus Sullivan.

“We already had the Beanpot and at the time, college hockey was just two divisions, large and small schools, so it was a chance to showcase teams like ours,’’ recalled Barry, 93, an inaugural inductee to the University of Massachusetts Boston Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.

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“So with Boston being the home of the bean and the cod, that’s how we named it.’’

Barry’s team won the first Codfish Bowl, held at Boston Arena (now Northeastern’s Matthews Arena) by defeating Ohio State, 4-3, in overtime and Salem State, 5-3, in the championship game.

Barry, who developed Boston State into a hockey power during his tenure from 1962-1982 before its merger with UMass Boston, is a New England sports icon.

One of Wellesley High’s greatest athletes and a Northeastern Hall of Famer, Barry played for the Bruins in the 1940s. A beloved member at Charles River Country Club in Newton since 1957, he won 12 club championships and numerous senior amateur titles.

“My first game for the Bruins was at Boston Garden against the Chicago Blackhawks and just about everybody I knew was in the stands,’’ said Barry, whose playing days were cut short by an elbow injury. He later coached the Boston Olympics farm team as a prelude to his college coaching career.

“I still get calls and letters from my players at Boston State,’’ he said, “and knowing them, and knowing the Codfish Bowl is still held, is very special to me.’’

Marvin Pave can be reached at
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