This past weekend at the Northeast Regionals in Worcester I finally got to see what Thatcher Demko has written on the back of his mask. The Boston College netminder pays tribute to past goaltenders who have won championship trophies for the program. While I like the nostalgia, I'm not so sure about replicating the NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey Championship Trophy on the back of the mask. He certainly doesn't lack confidence, I guess.
Tradition and history on the young goaltender's mask, with the names Burke, Clemmensen, Muse, Milner, and the NCAA Championship trophy featured on the back.
On the left side the names "Burke" and "Clemmensen '01" are listed. Bernie Burke won the first 1949 championship, and the "Bernie Burke Award" is give to the most outstanding freshman player at BC.
After a long championship drought, Scott Clemmensen brought home the Trophy in 2001. That 1998-2001 team went to four Frozen Fours during their tenure at school. Clemmensen is the All-Time leaders in Wins with 99 at Boston College. He led the team to the championship game as a freshman in 1998 (an OT loss to Michigan), and returned to the Frozen Four in each of the next three years; finally winning the National Title in 2001 (an OT win over North Dakota), going 30-7-2 with a 2.12 GAA in his senior season.
The right side of the mask reads, "Muse '08 & '10" and "Milner '12". John Muse is the second winningest goalie in program history with 89, and Parker Milner is not far behind with the fourth most, 64.
Muse and Milner were classmates on the same team that won the 2010 Championship. After winning the national championship as a freshman in 2008 (and suffering an injury in 2009) Johnny Muse split time with Parker Milner during the 2010 season; the platoon ended late in the season and head coach Jerry York rode Johnny Muse through tournament season all the way to the 2010 Championship, Muse's second in two tries.
Johnny Muse played on until 2011 where a phenomenal BC team was ousted from the NCAAs in the first game. It was an unfortunate end to Muse's career who finished with an almost stellar 8-1 record, a 2.59 GAA and a .910 save percentage in NCAA Tournament play. Heading into that tournament he was 8-0, having won two national championships in the two years BC qualified (missing out in 2009), and had only given up 3 goals in the four Frozen Four games en route to the championships; he's one of only four goaltenders to have a shutout in a championship game. BC was all but assured another trophy in 2011 as the #1 team yet was shockingly ousted in the first round by Colorado College.
Parker Milner had the net all to himself for the 2011-2012 season and put up staggering numbers for the season, going 29-5 with a 1.66 GAA; winning the Beanpot, Hockey East Tournament, and the National Championship. Milner allowed only 2 goals, with two shutouts in the Regionals, posting a 4-0 record with a 0.50 GAA in winning the 2012 title. BC lost to Union in the 2013 Regionals in Milner's senior season; in his five NCAA Tournament games Milner is 4-1 with a 1.40 GAA.
Clearly Thatcher Demko has big skates to fill when it comes to playing up to the standards of those goaltenders and carrying on the winning tradition they set before he arrived on the scene. Having their names emblazoned on his helmet shows great respect for those teams, their goaltenders, and the great tradition that is Boston College hockey.
In his first season with the Eagles, Demko has put up spectacular numbers. Unbeaten in his first 17 games, Demko finished 14-4-3 with a 2.13 GAA and .921% save percentage. In his first trip to the NCAAs he is 2-0 so far and on his way to the Frozen Four. This is the program's 24th trip to the Frozen Four and 11th since 1998. And the 2014 Eagles have a chance at redemption in a rematch with Union College in the 2014 Frozen Four.
For more on Thatcher Demko's mask and his journey to Boston College, here is a good article by Austin Tedesco in The Heights newspaper from October.