It’s tough to pick a best moment in the illustrious career of Jerry York, but if you had to pick one, it’s this - the 2001 national championship, an overtime winner against North Dakota, snapping the Eagles’ 52-year title drought.
Rarely are sports stories as storybook as BC hockey’s run from Jerry York’s first season in 1994 through to the 2001 title.
York was brought in with a clear directive - not only to restore BC to the top of the hockey mountain after an unacceptably long time, but also to chase down the behemoth across town at Boston University, who dominated Boston hockey for decades and left even very talented BC teams in the dust.
York’s first seven years had that satisfying, straight-line climb that almost never happens in sports — usually, progress comes in fits and starts.
But York’s BC team went from competitive, to contender, to being within a few lucky breaks of a national title. They suffered heartbreaking losses in the ‘98, ‘99 and ‘00 Frozen Fours, but were very clearly back, and staking a claim as the east’s top program.
In 2001, BC broke through for their first Beanpot title since 1994, breaking BU’s 6-year Beanpot streak by taking down the Terriers 5-3.
They went back to the FleetCenter the following month and won the Hockey East title over Providence.
Then, the NCAA tournament was the ultimate revenge ride for Eagles fans — you simply could not script it any better.
BC had a first round bye, then beat UMaine - their bitter local rival who edged them in the ‘99 Frozen Four - in the regional final.
In the national semifinal, they topped Michigan, the team that beat them in the ‘98 title game.
And then they finished it off against the big boss, North Dakota, who had knocked them off in the ‘00 final - blowing a late lead but rallying to win the game and the title in OT.
It doesn’t get much better than that. The 2001 team left an incredible legacy not only for breaking through as national champions, but also for producing great NHLers.