BC and BU alumni ice ALS in Comm Ave Charity Classic
On a hot summer night in early July in Boston, there was one perfect place to cool off on Friday.
Inside Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University, the Terriers Alumni renewed acquaintances with their Commonwealth Avenue rivals from Boston College.
It wasn’t just any random pickup game for the two schools who are separated by a mere 3.8 miles from one another. Instead, they came together for a greater cause to raise money for Compassionate Care ALS in the first annual Comm Ave Charity Classic.
Over 3,000 people in attendance packed the former home of the Terriers men’s hockey team on Friday, as the event raised over $55,000 for ALS research.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” said Jimmy Hayes, who is one week removed from being traded to the Bruins. “There were some incredible players playing for a great cause. To be able to raise all that money for one game is great for us and great for the fans who came to the game as well.”
The list of players was quite impressive.
Two Hobey Baker winners — Johnny Gaudreau and Mike Mottau — along with the Hayes brothers (Jimmy and Kevin), Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Leetch, Chris Kreider and Cory Schneider highlighted BC’s roster that was coached by the legendary Jerry York.
BU’s list of players wasn’t too shabby either. That list included Jay Pandolfo and Charlie Coyle — who scored a combined five goals in the Terriers’ 7-5 victory — along with Chris Bourque, Tom Poti, Shawn McEachern and Scott Young. They even got additional help from special guests Ray Bourque, Will O’Neill (a family friend of Pete Frates), Stevie Moses and Lane McDonald.
The event was organized by two former Eagles, Pat Mullane and Andrew Orpik, in honor of those affected by ALS. The BC community has been directly affected by the disease as Frates, Ron Perryman, Richard Armstrong and the late Dick Kelley were diagnosed with ALS. Friday’s game was in honor of those four battling the illness.
“It was great,” said Pandolfo. “Pat Mullane and Andrew Orpik set it up and they contacted me a while ago to see if I can help out and get some of the BU guys involved. Once they told me what the cause was for guys stepped up right away and wanted to do it. So it was a lot of fun.”
For some like Pandolfo, Mottau and Leetch, who are several years removed from their last BC-BU game, Friday’s game was a good time to relive special moments and create a new chapter in the Battle of Comm Ave.
“It’s really nice to revive the rivalry, even though it was a few years later for some of us,” Mottau said. “There was still that pride in playing for your school, wearing the colors. What it truly shows is the strength and the compassion of the hockey community in getting together for the right cause and doing the right thing and having a good time doing it.”
Mottau, along with many former BC athletes, were touched by Kelley’s spirit and generosity during his days as a Sports Information Director. The Hobey Baker winner in 2000 still carries over the advice that Kelley gave him during his four years at “The Heights.”
“I was really close with him. He was a real mentor on the academic side. He helped me in a number of ways just managing my time…he was around the room a lot,” Mottau said about Kelley, who lost his battle with ALS last winter. “What he did also that I’ll never forget is he prepared me for when I won the Hobey Baker. He gave me a packet on who Hobey Baker was as a person just in case someone asked me who Hobey Baker was. And I think that really influenced me to know what causes you go through with charities. That trophy alone was an excellent trophy to win, but the meaning behind it is much more important.”
The Frates family was also in attendance for Friday’s festivities.
From helping organize the event with Mullane and Orpik to dropping the puck at the ceremonial faceoff (along with the Kelley family) and everything else in between, the Frates’ played a crucial part in helping raise money for the cause.
“He was sort of an honorary hockey guy while he was there,” Schneider said about Frates, a classmate of his in 2007. “I hadn’t seen him in [a while] actually. He’s been so busy doing all the great stuff he’s been doing. It was great to finally see him again and to have him and the family here was special. I think it picked everyone up when he came in here in the room and we all had a chance to talk to him.”
Friday’s alumni game between the two rivals was another step in raising money for the cause. The next step will take place when the ice bucket challenge phenomenon grows in the coming weeks.
After all, when the hockey community takes a little break this summer, there’s no better way to cool off from the sun than pouring a bucket of ice water on your head.