Editorial, Opinion

Beanpot tournament inaccessibility exposes gender inequality in BU hockey culture | Editorial

Each year, as Boston University students return from winter break and are blasted with the frigid Boston weather, excitement for the spring semester intensifies along with anticipation for the Beanpot. 

The annual Beanpot, a college tradition in Boston founded in 1952, is an annual hockey tournament between the men’s hockey teams of BU, Boston College, Harvard University and Northeastern University. The women’s tournament was added in 1979.

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

The Beanpot is seemingly a quintessential experience for college students in Boston — yet, this year’s game times made them difficult to attend, especially given how far from each participating school’s campus TD Garden is and how wary transportation can be for students. 

Because all of the games take place on weeknights, they coincide with many students’ late afternoon and evening classes. With many professors having strict attendance policies, it’s not acceptable for students to miss class or leave early for the games. 

Between the academic costs and inconvenient times of day and week that the games are held, many students find the event inaccessible. Attending Beanpot is simply not viable for the population of students who want to go. This excludes students who, throughout four years, choose not to attend a single game of the tournament.

This also isn’t to say that students should be skirting educational responsibilities to participate in extracurricular activities, but it’s the Beanpot. Every student should have an equal opportunity of at least being available to go, even if they choose not to attend or fail to reserve a ticket.

Why do the most important college hockey games of the year in Boston take place on weeknights?

Surely, the event would draw in more attendees if it were to take place on the weekend. This change would not only allow interested students the opportunity to root for their school’s team, but it would also encourage a more participatory college environment. 

The inaccessibility of the Beanpot games also calls into question the difference in worth between the men’s and women’s games in the eyes of students. 

The women’s Beanpot championship took place on Tuesday, Jan. 23, in which BU fell to Northeastern in overtime. But this game was overlooked by many students and fans alike.

When excitement for the Beanpot intensifies, the women’s tournament is often not a part of the discussion.

This year’s women’s Beanpot made history. For the first time, the women’s Beanpot championship was played at TD Garden, joining the men’s tournament not on the same night, but at the same venue. 

This was the first time in the 45-year history of the women’s event that the championship round was played in an NHL venue. Additionally, 10,633 people attended the game, making it the largest women’s hockey crowd in New England history. 

Despite these broken barriers, popular student sentiment still seems to value the men’s tournament over the women’s — which is not surprising considering the historic, patriarchal culture of athletics that unfortunately continues to perpetuate today.  

The women’s Beanpot took place on a Tuesday night, which emulates the same scheduling concerns as the Monday night men’s championship.

But that raises the question: How many students are planning to skip class for the men’s tournament who simultaneously figured that it wasn’t worth the academic consequences of attending the women’s?  

It’s also hard to discern if students are paying attention to women’s hockey — or other women’s sports — throughout the season, not only when it comes to the Beanpot. 

Despite the strides taken to increase awareness and appreciation for women’s sports nationally, from Serena Williams to the United States National Women’s Soccer Team, we need to focus more attention on our own women’s teams at BU.

With the Beanpot being such an essential and famed part of the student community and culture in Boston, it must become more accessible to the people who wish to attend, especially if we want to boost support for women’s sports. 

This year, the annual men’s Beanpot semifinals will occur on Monday, Feb. 5, with Harvard playing Northeastern at 5 p.m. and BU playing BC at 8 p.m. at TD Garden.

This Editorial was written by Opinion Co-Editors Lea Rivel and Lauren Albano.

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One Comment

  1. You’ve outdone yourself with this one. Incredibly informative and engaging.