In case you hadn’t heard or if you live under a rock, the University of Denver is hosting the Ice Breaker Tournament, the annual traveling college hockey season kick-off event. Denver, Ohio State, Air Force, and Boston College are the four participants this year. Since BC is coming to Colorado, we couldn’t pass up another opportunity to do a Q&A with the awesome people over at BC Interruption.
The Ice Breaker goes down like this: DU plays Ohio State on Friday evening after BC plays Air Force earlier in the afternoon. The winners of each game then play each other Saturday evening after the two losing teams play on Saturday afternoon.
In the Q&A we touched on much more than just a potential DU-BC rematch in the Ice Breaker final. We even wonder whether DU should add women’s hockey. But without further ado, here’s the Q&A in all its glory:
Nick Tremaroli, LetsGoDU: How many freshmen does BC have on its roster again? I think I lost count somewhere around 11.
Joe Gravellese, BC Interruption: Thirteen. Count ’em, thirteen. And most of them will be playing pretty regularly, too. As of now, the top two goalies are both freshmen. So yeah, this is going to be a young team.
NT: BC head coach Jerry York knows how to make something out of nothing better than anyone in the sport. Do you think he’ll be able to work some magic with this young roster and make a run in the Tournament?
JG: It’s interesting that you say that, because as great of a coach as Jerry York is – and he’s the best (please pause to genuflect appropriately), he really doesn’t have to work with “nothing” very often because he always brings in such great talent. There are a few teams (’09 and ’15 come to mind) where they didn’t have the usual array of BC weaponry but were able to find enough to be competitive, and that certainly points to good coaching.
The ’15 team, which you remember well from when Denver unceremoniously dumped them out of the national tournament, pretty much had one good line of offense, with the rest of the forwards moreso resembling grinders than your usual high-skill BC team. That could be a benchmark for this year’s group, which is going to have a really phenomenal top line with Colin White and Ryan Fitzgerald, but some question marks the rest of the way through.
The ’15 team made the tournament as a 3 seed which was a pretty reasonable accomplishment. Though what that team had that this year’s doesn’t was a pretty stacked blue line with a combination of veteran players plus a top freshman in Noah Hanifin. Also, they had Thatcher Demko.
It wouldn’t surprise me if BC makes the tournament this year, but I think they’ll be very much surfing on the bubble.
NT: On a scale from 1-10, how much do you miss Johnny Hockey (Johnny Gaudreau)? I’m guessing a…..5000?
JG: Oh, so much. You have no idea. I pre-missed watching him before he even left, because I knew I was seeing something probably once-in-a-lifetime.
NT: How frustrating is it that BU is going to be so much better than BC this year?
JG: Extremely frustrating. A few years ago, it seemed like BC had kind of thrown BU in a ditch. But college sports are weird like that. A couple good recruiting classes and everything changes. That said, they ain’t won’ nothin’ yet (beating the tar out of a CIS team doesn’t count) so let’s see how BU does in real life.
NT: Women’s hockey is awesome. BC Women’s hockey is really good. Should DU add the sport?
JG: Yes, but I can see why they haven’t. It’s expensive, and there would be nobody for DU to regularly play without incurring some pretty significant travel costs. The schools that annoy me for not having it are Michigan and Michigan State, given that Ohio State, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Penn State operate teams, and given that lots of good women’s hockey talent comes out of the upper midwest. Also, those athletic departments have all of the money.
NT: Remember the 2016 AFC Championship Game? Man, that was great.
JG: I knew this question was coming, so I was prepared for it. I have mixed emotions about it. On the one hand, the Broncos were so much better than the Patriots that it was hard to be mad. On the other hand, the Broncos were so much better than the Patriots despite having a mummified pharaoh as starting QB. That was pretty lame.
NT: Eastern hockey is weird. Everything is a road trip for you. What’s it like being able to go to every away game?
JG: It’s the best. It’s one of the things that really made me fall in love with the sport, even as a kid, getting to go to watch 4 or 5 different teams pretty regularly. When Hockey East added Notre Dame that ruined a certain aspect of it, where not every game was a drive-able away trip; I’m glad they’re leaving, because I really like that aspect of it.
much are you dreading much are you looking forward watching BC play North Dakota at Madison Square Garden this December?
JG: I’m pretty excited about it because even if we get launched into the sun, we’ll still get to spend a weekend in New York City.
NT: Whose fans are worse, BU’s or BC’s?
JG: It depends on how you define “worse.” BU fans are more annoying. Frankly, I know I’m biased, but they’re about as annoying as it gets – the squealing whenever BU crosses the red line, the same 5 cheers done at the exact same time when the band plays the same song every game, acting like they’re streetwise public school kids compared to BC when they also attend a private university costing $60,000 a year, etc.
BC fans are, on the whole, kind of lame, quiet and reserved. But as I get older, I get more like that myself. So I guess that’s the way it goes.
Oh, and the BC students that only show up to 3-4 hockey games per year (BU, Notre Dame, and the Beanpot) are annoying as hell, but I imagine that’s a pretty common issue.
NT: Remind me again why you’re being lame and not coming to Denver this weekend?
JG: Because I spent a ton of money going to Ireland to watch BC football. Which is less about being “lame” and more about having poor priorities in terms of spending.
NT: What’s your prediction for the IceBreaker?
JG: I think BC will have a tough time with Air Force but I’m going to stay optimistic and predict the Eagles will squeeze out a 3-2 win. Denver will take the tournament and probably dispose of BC on Saturday, but maybe the Eagles will surprise some people.
As always, a huge thanks to BC Interruption for both thinking of the idea and making it so fun. Head on over to their site to take a look at the other half of this Q&A. I’m hoping that we will have a reason to do another Q&A with them later this season before heading off to Chicago.