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York thrived on rivalries on way to Hockey Hall of Fame, Parker says

Boston College coach made most of competing against Boston University counterpart

by Jack Parker / Special to NHL.com

Jack Parker coached against Jerry York as the twin pillars of college hockey in the Boston area, with Parker at Boston University and York at Boston College. Parker, who retired at the end of the 2012-13 season, is third all-time in NCAA coaching wins with 897, the most by a coach at a single school; York is first with 1,069. Here Parker shares his thoughts on York, who will go into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, in a special testimonial for NHL.com.

I played against Jerry York in high school, played against him in college, and coached against him for all those years that I was coaching. Every year I was ever coaching college hockey, he was. For the 40 years I coached at Boston University, he was always coaching, either at Clarkson, at Bowling Green, then back at Boston College.

 

[RELATED: York rewarded for decades of college success with Hockey Hall of Fame nod]

 

When he left Clarkson, where he was very successful and had great teams, and went to Bowling Green, I thought it was a weird move and a dangerous move. Weird in that he was an eastern guy, knew everybody out east -- in those days there was a real rift between east and west, it was before Hockey East had established the interlocking schedule with the WCHA and there was not a lot of conviviality between the eastern coaches and western coaches -- so I thought Jerry was making a big mistake. As it turned out, he went to Bowling Green and won a national championship there.

He made two moves, leaving Clarkson to go to Bowling Green and leaving Bowling Green to come to Boston College and each time he did that it really worked out for him. He was a great director of his own fate, so to speak, to stay in the coaching ranks as long as he has.

Plus, Jerry is a terrific coach.

If you asked Rick Comley or Ron Mason or Red Berenson, how many wins do you have, you'd have to stop and think, what's the number? If you asked Jerry York how many wins does he have, he doesn't have to come up with a number. All he has to say is, "More than anybody else."

And I think that is quite a tribute to a guy who has coached at three different places and has won more games than anybody in the history of college hockey. He's won five national championships, and he's won at two different schools, which is hard to do as well.

I think Kenny Dryden put it right in his book, "The Game." He was talking about the BU-Cornell rivalry -- I played against Kenny when we were in college -- and Kenny mentioned that you can't have a great team, you can't have a great career without a great rival, and I think that's true of Boston College and Boston University. Our rivalry has been terrific over a long period of time, long before Jerry and I ever got to play at those schools. It was a big rivalry with brand-name coaches that were trying to win and beat the team just down the street from each other. And I think that's true with my coaching, that other coaches bring out the best in you. I think that our rivalry with Boston College and my rivalry with Jerry, I think it was more school vs. school, it wasn't Parker vs. York, it was more BU vs. BC, but that rivalry brought out the best in both of us.

So I think that all of these factors are rationales for saying: Why wouldn't Jerry York be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Jerry is a college coach who didn't coach in the NHL. You'd have to say it's about time. And if you're going to choose somebody like that, who else would you choose but Jerry because of the number of wins, the number of championships, doing it in the east, doing it in the west. I think he's a very logical guy to choose. I don't think there will be a lot of Americans, college coaches, who will get that recognition. I think that's going to be unique to Jerry, and I think that's something that's well deserved.

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