Maine is on the schedule for Boston College hockey this weekend - a game that carried great national significance not long ago. The Eagles and the Black Bears had memorable clashes throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s, and even met twice in three years for the Hockey East title in 2010 and 2012.
But Maine has really struggled in recent seasons, making it harder for this matchup to be considered a “rivalry.” The same story is true about UNH - another classic BC rival that has fallen on hard times.
With the exception of BU, which obviously has been BC’s most significant rival for a century, rivalries rise and fall in significance depending on how teams are doing. Harvard is a historic rival from the ECAC days, but may not resonate as much with newer fans; BC had significant run-ins with North Dakota and Miami through the aughts but haven’t faced them in a while.
We did a survey of the entire BCI panel to get perspectives on who the top 5 BC hockey rivals are at this point in 2016.
1. Boston University (30) (6 first place votes)
I mean, obviously.
History meter: 10/10
Hate meter: 10/10
2016/17 relevance: 10/10
Memorable historic clash: There are many, but it’s hard to look past the 1978 National Championship when BU beat BC in Providence for the NCAA title.
Memorable recent clash: Again, too many to name, but let’s go with the 2012 Beanpot final, when Bill Arnold scored in the dying embers of OT to lock down the W:
2. Northeastern (18)
I’m not sure Northeastern would have made this list in 2006, but the Huskies have had a number of big games against BC over the past decade, making this in-city clash more white-hot than it’s possibly ever been in its history. BC topped NU for the Beanpot title in 2011, 2013 and 2014 - all in fashion that caused various levels of Husky heartbreak.
History level: 8/10 - These two teams have been playing for a long, long time, though many of those games have been pretty insignificant.
Hate level: 5/10 - We don’t have much hate for Northeastern here at BC Interruption. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and we all hate BU. That said, whenever you have a local matchup tensions will rise. And we know the average Northeastern fan hates BC. It’s all good.
2016/2017 relevance: 9/10
Memorable historic clash: Northeastern topped BC 5-4 in OT to win the 1980 Beanpot - the Huskies’ first ever Beanpot title.
Memorable recent clash: The 2011 Beanpot final was one of the best ever, with Jimmy Hayes’ OT goal securing a 7-6 BC win in OT:
3. Providence (13)
This vote came as a bit of a surprise, but BC does have a long, long history with Providence, one of the other original Hockey East members. BC owns the all-time series with the Friars, 111-48-14, with a 59-24-12 record against them in Hockey East games.
History level: 9/10 - These two schools have a history, in Hockey East and in the old Big East. The 160+ matchups between these two schools on the ice make PC one of BC’s longest-running hockey opponents.
Hate level: 2/10 - Does anyone really hate Providence here? Especially after 2015? Nah. Love you guys forever. This is more of a respectful rivalry at this point, sort of like Denver.
2016/17 Relevance: 9/10
Memorable historic clash: Chris Terreri made 62 saves as PC defeated BC in triple OT in the 1985 NCAA semifinal in Detroit. BC outshot Providence 53-15 in regulation but still fell short of the final.
Memorable recent clash: BC topped the eventual national champion Friars 3-2 in front of a sellout crowd in January of 2015, a game that played a huge role in BC making the tournament that season.
4. Notre Dame (11)
Notre Dame has certainly emerged as a hockey rival in recent years - in some ways piggybacking off of the football hostility, but in other ways organically due to on-ice incidents and big games.
Obviously, the Notre Dame game brings out a crowd each year.
History level: 4/10 - This series only really started becoming relevant in the mid-2000s when Notre Dame stepped up their game, then hit its stride in the 2008 national championship game.
Hate level: 9/10 - Obviously, eff these guys. First of all, they’re Notre Dame. But also, Jeff Jackson is probably the best foil for Jerry York now that Jack Parker has retired.
2016/2017 relevance: 9/10
Memorable historic clash: 2008 NCAA Championship
Memorable recent clash: Unfortunately, I’d have to say the 2014 Hockey East quarterfinal, game 3- Notre Dame stymied BC at home and knocked the Eagles out shy of the Garden, in a game that really, really stung. ND effectively shut down the Gaudreau/Arnold/Hayes line over the course of a frustrating series that featured intense emotions and controversial officiating. This series pretty much sealed BC-ND as a hockey rivalry on its own merits.
This is one basically all about the history. BC and Harvard were old ECAC rivals and now still clash regularly in the Beanpot. BC and Harvard have faced off 124 times.
History level: 9/10 - This rivalry has history. This rivalry has geography. Wow, that’s a lot of academic subjects.
Hate level: 3/10 - I mean, whatever, right?
2016/2017 relevance: 6/10
Memorable historic clash: I guess the 2008 Beanpot counts as historic now #old. Nick Petrecki scores in OT to dispatch Harvard and win the Beanpot:
Memorable recent clash: BC moved themselves one step closer to the 2016 Frozen Four with an NCAA first round win over Harvard this March.
They made a lot of lists; we still hate them even though they are terrible now. #NeverForget
History level: 8/10 - These are two Hockey East originals and they clashed heads many times in the heady days of the 90s and 00s.
Hate level: 9/10 - Is there a more annoying place to go as an away fan than the Whittemore Center? Seriously, eff those guys. We kind of miss UNH being relevant because it was fun to watch them get #mad.
2016/2017 Relevance: 1/10
Memorable historic clash: Benn Ferriero’s 3OT goal gives BC a 5-4 win over New Hampshire in the 2008 Hockey East semifinals - one of the best Hockey East tournament games of all time.
Memorable recent clash: n/a
Maine - There’s less hate for Maine than respect for the history: these two programs were both at the pinnacle of the sport not long ago, and we miss the fun matchups between the two.
Denver - This is also more of a “respect” vote than a hate vote. BC and Denver meet just about every year and have had some great games.
UConn - I’m going to ignore this because Grant was the only one to actually vote for UConn. #ConnecticutProblems
North Dakota - They would have probably been #2 after BU if you held this vote in 2008. I miss BC vs. North Dakota annually in the NCAA tournament. Let’s bring it back.
These were all the teams that BCI’ers voted in their top 5 - but who else makes your list of hockey rivals? Agree with who we voted for? Who would you have higher or lower?