By: Jake Reiser
It’s that time of year once again. The first two Mondays of February, students of Boston schools, all donning some form of red from their school’s colors, race to TD Garden to watch the Beanpot. This year’s tournament, in its 65th iteration, is one of the most anticipated yet, with each member school either succeeding in some form or looking to the tournament as a springboard for things to come.
There’s one question that comes to many a student’s mind, however, when they think of the Beanpot: why is it called the Beanpot in the first place?
According to Steve Nazro, Vice President of Events at TD Garden and manager of the Beanpot for the last 50 years, the name of the tournament came only after originating members, like Walter Brown, had come up with a suitable trophy.
“Durgin Park, which is a well-known restaurant down by Faneuil Hall, they serve popcorn in huge bean pots. Someone came up with the idea to get a bean pot, and then they built around it, put it in a silver plate, and inside, when they were finished, broke the bean pot and dumped the pieces out,” Nazro said. “Subsequently, we’ve had to add on more rings, an idea sort of like the Stanley Cup. It’s a trophy that’s very unusual for a tournament that’s very unusual.”
For teams that don’t make the NCAA tournament, this is one of the biggest stages their squads will ever face. Even if a team does make it to the postseason, there’s nothing that can rival the intensity of the Beanpot. Throughout history, the annual tournament has always garnered the most attention, even compared to national championships.
“In those days, you’d go play in the Beanpot, which was in front of 13,909 [people], and then we’d go play in the National Championship in front of 200 people,” said Parker. “This was the place for big time college hockey. Players never got to play in front of a crowd like this anywhere else.”
No teams other than Boston University or Boston College have won the Beanpot since 1993, a theme that both Ted Donato and Jim Madigan, head coaches of Harvard and Northeastern, respectively, would like to break. Crimson co-captain Alexander Kerfoot echoed this sentiment for his senior season.
“We sit down at the beginning of every year and right down some goals and this was one we really were looking forward to,” said Kerfoot. “The Beanpot’s huge, it’s great hockey schools with a lot of success. Coming away with our senior year after the past three years, it would mean an incredible amount to not only our group, but to Harvard hockey in general and our alumni.”
As for the two winning schools? The trend is, seemingly, unexplainable.
“I think it’s pretty special. Just growing up, both my parents went to BC and a lot of my uncles went to BU, so there was always a rivalry within the family. Being a part of it now is pretty special and hopefully, we can win this year too,” said BU senior Tommy Kelley.
Nazro will be retiring in December, this Beanpot being his last and final as its overseer. However, with the amount of anticipation, drama and excitement the Beanpot brings every year, no matter whose hands it ends up in, it will remain a focal point of the college hockey season for years to come.