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BU versus BC: Hockey Battles for the Ages

A new documentary puts a sheen on the classic Comm Ave rivalry

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In 2005, Sports Illustrated called the hockey contests between Boston University and Boston College “the greatest rivalry in all of sports.”

To make that claim the year after the Boston Red Sox had come back from three games down to defeat the New York Yankees (and go on to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years) was bold, maybe even foolhardy.

But there is an undeniable magic to the tussle between BU and BC that can’t be, well, rivaled. Now a new documentary, The Battle of Comm Ave — Boston University vs. Boston College puts it all into a 91-year context.

“You can’t talk about one hockey program without talking about the other,” says Matt Fults, the film’s director. “A great rivalry needs longevity, success on both sides, and to have the unexpected happen. BU and BC have had all of those things.”

The documentary will air for the first time on New England Sports Network tonight, Wednesday, November 25, at 6:30 p.m. It will repeat at 11:30 p.m. and again on Friday, November 27, at 3 p.m. 

Although he had no connection to either school before taking on the project, Fults says his ties to the Boston area made him aware of the passion for hockey on Commonwealth Avenue. “College hockey stories tend to be under-told and undersold,” he says.

Of the 246 games played between the schools over nine decades, BU has come out on top in 123, BC in 106, and 17 have ended in ties. The Terriers won their fifth NCAA championship last April, while the Eagles claimed their third the year before. This season, in addition to games on at each end of Comm Ave, the teams will face off at Fenway Park on January 8, 2010.

More than 50 coaches, players, fans, alums, and staff members were interviewed for the film, narrated by Hockey Hall of Fame announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick.

Included were friends and competitors current BU coach Jack Parker (SMG’68, Hon.’97), who holds the record for the most wins of any coach at one school, third overall, and BC coach Jerry York, who is second overall; former BU standouts Mike Eruzione (SED’77) and Jack O’Callahan (CAS’79), of 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic fame, and Matt Gilroy (MET’09), 2009 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner; and BC stars Mike Mottau, Scott Clemmensen, and Brian Gionta.

Edward A. Brown can be reached at ebrown@bu.edu.

3 Comments

3 Comments on BU versus BC: Hockey Battles for the Ages

  • Anonymous on 11.25.2009 at 7:38 pm

    Well done! Loved the stories and the inside perspectives! Thanks for the memories through the years. Now let’s beat those Eagles!!! Go Terriers! The Beanpot is yours for the taking!

  • Anonymous on 11.29.2009 at 11:48 pm

    It’s kind of interesting. I guess if you are into hockey it is a big deal. In general I think most BC students and alumni are blissfully unaware of BU’s existence, instead focusing on Notre Dame and schools from the ACC.

  • helen on 01.08.2010 at 8:32 pm

    kind of, er, dumb

    Whoever wrote: “In general I think most BC students and alumni are blissfully unaware of BU’s existence” — I don’t like to namecall, but that it is not a very true (or smart) comment. (Mets fans blissfully unaware of Yankees fans?)

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