Boston, MA -- The crowd took to their feet at last Tuesday night’s game as the Boston Bruins welcomed the Boston College men’s ice hockey team to the ice in celebration of their 2008 NCAA championship title.
It was a rousing standing ovation in honor of a team that’s had quite an eventful month.
It’s been non-stop celebrations for the team as they’ve been honored several times. On Sunday, April 13th it was a trip to Fenway to throw out the first pitch followed by a ceremony on the team’s home ice, Kelly rink, on Monday, the 14th. Then, the Hub of Hockey feted them during Game 4 of the Bruins-Canadiens playoff series on the 15th
Eagles’ Captain, Mike Brennan, described the whirlwind of appearances as simply “incredible.”
“We got off the plane and right away we’re going to Fenway to throw out the first pitch and now we’re here going on the ice. We’ve had great responses from all the fans.”
As for the Garden experience, Brennan said, “It was extremely loud.
"You’re a little nervous going out on the ice, but they responded great and we can’t ask for more.”
The road to the National Championship title was not entirely smooth sailing for the Boston College Eagles.
A turning point in the season came when the Eagles went 1-5-1 from February 15th to March 7th before winning all nine of their remaining games of the season. It took a closed-door meeting with Coach York to get the team back on the rails, but it seemed to do the trick as the team went on to capture the Hockey East tournament and of course the NCAA Championship. The team also had many personal triumphs to celebrate this season including Junior Nathan Gerbe’s All-America first-team honors.
But for Gerbe, nothing means more than earning the title, NCAA champ.
“That’s your team goal every time”, he said, “The year starts to win something big like this.”
Another integral part of the team’s success this season was stellar goaltending from freshman goalie John Muse. With a congratulatory pat on the back on Tuesday, Gerbe called Muse, “a huge part of our club”.
As a freshman, this marked Muse’s first trip to the Frozen Four, but he certainly hopes it's not his last.
“There’s three more years and three more chances to win a national championship”, he said. “It was a dream come true. I think it’s a dream come true for any kid that grows up being a college hockey fan”.
Sharing in that dream was Boston Bruins own Bobby Allen, a former Boston College Eagle whose team took the NCAA title during his senior year in 2001 and as a veteran college and professional hockey player, Allen knows only too well all the hard work it takes to take home the championship.
“What they did is just unbelievable," said the Bruin. "People don’t realize how tough it is to do. Most of the time, it’s single elimination games.
"A lot depends on what type of breaks you get, on what type of luck you have.
"These guys seemed like they persevered all year and I was just real happy, in fact everybody who went to BC, was just real happy they were so successful this year,” said Allen.
The team’s success this season also speaks volumes of the character of the individual players. As Allen said, “they wouldn’t have been so successful if they weren’t good kids and they weren’t following what coach has to say.”
Now, having secured the 2008 NCAA championship title, the team’s next task at hand is to try and let it all sink in. And for senior Mike Brennan, that’s exactly what he intends on doing.
“Just right now, I’m just kind of focusing on trying to let this sink in a little bit," said Brennan. "We pride ourselves on going to that tournament and winning it and that’s exactly what happened.
"It’s nice knowing that you’re the best in college hockey."