The tournament kicks off with a game at 5:00 PM Eastern, pitting the #2 ranked Boston College Eagles of Hockey East facing off against the #3 Union Dutchmen of the ECAC our of Schenectady, New York.
The second game scheduled for 8:30 PM will feature the #1 Minnesota Golden Gophers representing the first year Big Ten Conference against their long-time rivals, #14 ranked North Dakota of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which is also a first year conference following the massive shakeup of the western college hockey landscape.
The Boston College hockey program dates back to the 1917-18 season when they played a whopping total of just three games, but even then one of those was against their fierce rivals Boston University.
In their early days, the Eagles played against various amateur athletic clubs and a growing number of other college teams, winning their first NCAA championship in 1949 with a record of 21-1.
They would not win another national championship for over 50 years until winning the title again in 2001. They then entered the era of their greatest success, winning the NCAA championship in 2008, 2010 and 2012, an every other year pace which puts them on track to win the title again this year!
Boston College played as an independent through the 1960-61 season before joining new Eastern College Athletic Conference in 1961-62 as a charter member. They remained in the ECAC until concerns that the Ivy League members of the ECAC were going to leave the league led to the formation of Hockey East in 1984-85. Before leaving for Hockey East, the Eagles won the conference tournament in 1965 and again in 1978 with a regular season title in 1980.
They proved to be an immediate power in Hockey East, winning the league's first three regular season titles in 1985, 1986 and 1987 and then three consecutive again in 1989, 1990 and 1991. Ten years later a seventh regular season championship came in 2001 followed by another hat trick of championships in 2003, 2004 and 2005, their 10th. The Eagles then made it an even dozen with back-to-back first place finishes in 2011 and 2012.
In addition, Boston College has won Hockey East conference playoff titles in 1987, 1990, 1998 and 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2008 and a three-peat in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Stability has been a feature of the program, with first head coach John "Snooks" Kelley being behind the bench for 36 years from 1932-33 through 1971-72, save for a gap of four years during World War II when he was a member of the United States Navy before returning to BC in 1946 and winning the national title in 1949. Kelley was the first coach in NCAA history to win 500 games, was named College Hockey Coach of the Year in 1959 and 1972, was named the recipient of the Lester Patrick Award for his contributions to hockey in the United States in 1972 and was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974.
Current Eagles head coach Jerry York took over two seasons after Ceglarski's retirement and is now in his 20th year. York is currently the winningest coach in the NCAA with 983 and has been at the helm for the four national championships since 2001. York also has a national title from 1984 while with Bowling Green and won his Lester Patrick Award in 2010.
Notable Boston College alumni include Hobey Baker winners David Emma in 1991 and Mike Mottau in 2000 and future NHL stars Brian Leetch, Brian Gionta, Joe Mullen, Brooks Orpik and Bill Guerin, Emma holds the school record with 239 career points from 147 games played, while Gionta leads the Eagles in career goals scored with 123, ahead of Emma's 112. Scott Harlow and Mullen are the only two others to have topped 200 career points, while Scott Clemmensen leads all goaltenders with 99 career wins.
Boston College has also won the famous Beanpot Tournament 19 times in the 62 year history of the event, including the last five in a row.
This jersey has the classic look of the colored shoulder yoke paired with three stripes on the arms and waist which is then adorned with an eagle in full flight, making for a striking look in contrast to many of BC's recent efforts, notable for their unfortunate choices of "Star Trek" number fonts and unattractive pale gold alternate jerseys.
Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1999-00 Boston College Eagles Brian Gionta jersey. This is a more traditional Eagles jersey with "Boston College" across the front from one of BC's more successful recent NHL graduates.
Up next is Boston College's most recent NCAA national championship from 2012.