With teams enjoying a break for the holidays, it seems like a good time to take a look back at one of the best moments from the first half of the season, a gesture that serves as a reminder for why so many of us follow sports in the first place.
Harvard’s Bright-Landry Hockey Center was sold out for the Crimson’s late-afternoon game with Boston College on Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving. Both teams were ranked in the top 10.
During a timeout early in the first period, Harvard honored Boston College coach Jerry York with a video for being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame earlier that month. The salute ended with a live shot of York behind the bench, acknowledging the crowd, which was giving him an ovation. Players on both teams tapped their sticks on the ice in appreciation.
Also, a moment of silence was held for Andy Jick, the legendary public address announcer who died in his sleep on May 3. After doing Celtics games at the Garden from 1980-97, Jick worked in the same capacity at Boston College and Harvard.
“We felt it was a nice opportunity to recognize him,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “He was beloved in all spots that he had been.”
BC rallied for a 4-2 win. As is customary in college hockey, the coaching staffs made their way to center ice to shake hands. Typically a quick word or two is shared, then the coaches retreat while the players line up to shake hands. But on this day, York and Donato stayed on the ice and continued their conversation. Soon, the players had made their way through the line, when York and Donato realized it was time to follow back to their respective locker rooms.
“I was thanking him,” said York. “I thought that was a nice gesture, for a visiting rink to call up [the video] for the Hall of Fame. I’m not surprised Harvard would do that. It’s a pretty classy group here, 16 years [Donato has] been going against me.”
In the days leading up to the game, Donato spoke with Jeff Weinstein, assistant director of athletic communications for Harvard, about honoring York and Jick, and the two came up with the idea for tributes on the video board.
“With a local game, we knew there would be a lot of Harvard and BC fans here,” said Donato. “Jerry’s accomplishments are many, but going into the Hall of Fame is incredible and well deserved. For us, we felt it was a nice opportunity, being at home, to recognize him.
“He’s one of the all-time great guys in the sport of hockey ever, and obviously for college hockey, he’s setting the bar not only for what success could look like, but also how to run a program and have good kids. We wanted to recognize that.
“Plus, Jeff went to BC,” Donato added. “If it was up to him, we would have had . . . ”
“. . . a parade,” Weinstein interrupted, with a smile.
USA Hockey named the 26-player preliminary roster set to travel to Czech Republic ahead of the 2020 World Junior Championship. The group includes five members of the silver medal-winning 2019 team, including Oliver Wahlstrom, who played at BC last year and is with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers (an affiliate of the New York Islanders) this season.
The roster also includes five players from Hockey East schools: BC goalie Spencer Knight, Northeastern defenseman Jordan Harris, UMass defenseman Zac Jones, Providence forward Parker Ford, and Boston University forward Trevor Zegras. Harvard forward Jack Drury is also on the roster, as are Bruins draft picks John Beecher (Michigan) and Curtis Hall (Yale). The final 23-man roster will be announced by Dec. 24.
Northeastern associate head coach Jerry Keefe is serving as an Team USA assistant coach for the second straight year.
The women’s national teams of the US and Canada kicked off this year’s edition of the rivalry series. Nine players with Hockey East ties are on the US roster: Cayla Barnes, Kelly Browne, Alex Carpenter, Megan Keller, and Emily Matheson (BC); Kacey Bellamy (New Hampshire); Jesse Compher (BU); and Kendall Coyne Schofield and Aerin Frankel (Northeastern).
Those with local ties playing for Canada are Marie-Philip Poulin and Victoria Bach (BU); Emerance Maschmeyer (Harvard); and Genevieve Lacasse (Providence).
The US took the first two games of the series. Frankel got the start in net for the second game, recording 27 saves in a 2-1 win. Carpenter scored what proved to be the winning goal and was named US player of the game.
Northeastern was one of the few teams in action this past week, and entered the break 11-5-2 after defeating Dartmouth, 6-4, on Saturday. Freshman Aidan McDonough had two goals and two assists for the Huskies. The Milton native, who played at Thayer Academy, estimated that he had 15 family members in the crowd.
“It was nice, my whole family was here, so it was nice to get a few with them in the building, and it’s good to head into the holidays on a good note,” said McDonough, who was named Hockey East rookie of the week.
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.