FADEM: Does the Beanpot matter?

During my freshman year, I learned a valuable lesson that I’m going to pass on, a couple of months too late: don’t schedule class on Monday nights, second semester. Sure, you’ll get that class off during the third Monday in April with the glory that is Marathon Monday, but you’ll be missing a seemingly more important event. This is assuming you aren’t in CGS and actually have to attend class.

What I’m talking about is the Beanpot. If you had class last night you probably missed the Beanpot ‘-‘- an event that is marked on Boston calendars from the beginning of the year. It’s a rare game in which students who have never been to a game before get to attend. It’s big at BU ‘-‘- you probably already know this by now.

There’s a good reason it’s so popular: BU basically owns it. If the Terriers hadn’t had the success they’ve enjoyed in the first two Mondays in February, would the program be at the level it’s at for the BU faithful? That’s debatable.

Of the 56 Beanpots previously held, BU has won exactly half of them, finished second in 18 of them and only finished last in three. Boston College, the next closest school in terms of Beanpot titles, has half the number of titles BU does ‘-‘- 14. BU has enjoyed unrivaled success at the Garden.

But does this success, or even this tournament (if you can even call it that) matter? What good is it to have a tournament (again, if you can even call it that) in the middle of the season and have each round separated by a week? Plus, what good is it to have three teams in it that play three times every year anyways?

Think about this ‘-‘- including the Beanpot, it’s possible that BU could play BC or Northeastern a maximum of eight times during the season. Is that bad? Is it necessary? Is the Beanpot really worth not scheduling Monday night classes for?

This is an argument, a discussion, a town hall style meeting I’ve had a number of times. Each year a different BU team goes into early February with expectations to bring home a Beanpot title ‘-‘- there’s a banner that hangs above 118 that counts BU’s number.

It’s become a right of passage to chant, ‘Where’s your Beanpot?’ on winning years (and even sometimes losing years) to Northeastern and Boston College. So is it that BU cares more about the Beanpot than the other schools?

Many people say the tournament is worthless, but in the past couple years, it’s been the turning point for Boston College hockey teams. Two years ago, after losing in the finals, BC turned their season around and won game after game after game all the way to the national championship game.

Last year ‘-‘- God, do I really need to go over what happened? Fine, but this pains me so I’ll keep it short ‘-‘- BC won the Beanpot and kept winning all the way to the national title.

It’s a midseason tournament. If not for the history, would students be giving up their Monday nights for hockey?

I can ask all these questions, but all the signs and evidence indicate that this thing matters a lot to this school. It’s like in college football where all these schools play for the most random trophies ever that make little to no sense.

I’d say this ‘tournament’ matters because of the tradition it’s left behind. The first year the Beanpot was played, it took place on the first two nights after Christmas in 1952 to ‘help the Arena on off nights.’ Back then, the game was played at Matthews Arena ‘-‘- now the official home of Northeastern (one college’s trash is another’s treasure!)

Since then, it’s enjoyed major national success and has drawn the largest crowds for college hockey other than the Frozen Four.

I get so excited after the Super Bowl ends because I know all of Boston University is now thinking about hockey. They’re thinking about adding another title to the BU resume, they’re thinking about how BC or BU have always been in a Beanpot final game, and how Northeastern and Harvard have never met in the primetime hour on the second Monday. The first and second Monday in the shortest month have become exclusively about hockey.

So what that these four games come in the middle of the season? There’s nothing like the Beanpot. No regular season victory against Boston College or Northeastern (or Harvard, I suppose) feels better than a Beanpot win.

There’s never any other point in the year when taking a 30-minute T ride is actually enjoyable. There’s no other time when the BU community comes together like it did yesterday (and it will again during next Monday’s title bout), and enjoys the best team and best sport at the school.

Bottom line ‘-‘- every year a Beanpot championship goal is featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays. That’s when I knew for sure that it matters for something.


  1. And as alumni (SMG ’93) we have precious few sports events where we can get together in bars or stadiums and root for the school. We’ve got this and we’ve got the Cornell game in Madison Square Garden. Love it now, love it forever. When you graduate you’ll find rowdy, obnoxious BC grads on every park bench and panhandling every street corner, so you’ll need this to lord over them.

  2. While I agree with nearly everything in this article, including the freshman year faux pas of scheduling a class on second semester Monday nights, there is one thing I am compelled to add. The Beanpot is a well known tournament even outside the four teams, and even the two leagues, involved. There are invariably a few fans proudly wearing western teams’ jerseys, who always say they had heard so much about the tournament they needed to see it in person. The USCHO website features the Beanpot in early Febuary, something done for no other tournament on my favorite college hockey site. The Beanpot is the behemoth of college hockey tourneys! As always, GO BU!

  3. I’ve seen an article like this every year since I was a freshman 6 years ago (no I’m not a terminal student, I’ve graduated but I do like to keep up on the newspaper who’s crossword got me through 4 years of lectures). Point being, of course the Beanpot means crap outside of BU/BC and rarely Harvard/Northeastern, but we like it. It’s a mid-season rallying point for us and a great opportunity to pull in freshman who up to that point haven’t seen any hockey. Love the Beanpot. LOVE IT. ARE YOU LOVING IT YET!?!