Jerry York Breaks Win Record
by Nathan Wells/CHN Reporter
MINNEAPOLIS If Jerry York was trying to hide his emotions after becoming college hockey’s all-time wins leader, his smile gave him away.
The legendary Boston College head coach won his record-breaking 925th career game Saturday as the top-ranked Eagles (12-2-1, 11-2-1 Hockey East) defeated Alabama-Huntsville (3-15-1), 5-2, in the opening game of the Mariucci Classic. BC, who is without leading goal scorer Johnny Gaudreau (currently playing in the World Junior Championships), had five different players score in front of a sparsely-attended matinee crowd.
Those who were in attendance witnessed history. York – in his second attempt following a tie with Providence on Dec. 7 – passed former Michigan State head coach Ron Mason in all-time wins. However, he tried to downplay its significance.
“Coaches coach and we play to win trophies,” he said following the game. “(Breaking the record) hasn’t been a big concern of ours. We never brought it up with the guys.”
That didn’t stop the Boston College locker room from giving their head coach a loud round of applause once they got off the ice.
“It’s nice to get that out of the way,” said senior Pat Mullane, who had an assist.
Despite Alabama-Huntsville outshooting BC 12-9 in the opening period, the Chargers found themselves out of the game early. Cam Spiro started the scoring for the Eagles 2:53 into the game when Teddy Doherty fed the sophomore for his first collegiate goal. He was followed nine minutes later by Bill Arnold and Danny Linell scoring 1:12 apart from one another and taking a commanding 3-0 lead.
Although Alabama-Huntsville got goals from Jeff Vanderlugt and Craig Pierce, it was not a matter of whether York would get his record-breaking win more than what would happen when the final whistle come. At the same time, it was just another game for him and the BC head coach tried not to lose sight of what one game means in a long season.
“If I’m thinking about how many games, it’s not good for the Eagles,” York said. “We played well after a long layoff and now move on to play Minnesota.
“(The record) is not important to me. Maybe when I retire in 10 years and sit down on a porch it will.”
Jerry began his head coaching career at Clarkson in 1972 when he took over for Len Ceglarski. Following seven seasons with the Knights and 15 years at Bowling Green, where York won a national title in 1984, the Boston College alum returned to his alma mater. Since then the Eagles have won four national championships, including two of the last three.
That zest for a national championship — the one trophy NHL players like Brian Gionta yearned for during their time in Chestnut Hill — continues to lead this year’s squad. Boston College is once again in position to contend for another this year and it will be the case for win No. 926 and beyond.
Of course that doesn’t mean York can’t take a moment to smile and enjoy it. That happened. In fact, he’s planning on celebrating this win with pizza, he said. But for York and Boston College, the work is not yet done and it’s a lesson the coach has imparted on Mullane and the rest of his players.
“I don’t know how many coaches will get near to it but I’ll sit back in 10, 15, 20 years and think I was a part of it.”