Archive for November, 2014

Please Join Us for an Evening of Sports Talk!

November 11, 2014

Authors Tom Burke and Reid Oslin Invite You to

doyles logoDoyle’s Cafe – “Boston’s Best Pub”
3484 Washington Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Tuesday, November 18, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.

No Cover! No Minimum! Just bring a love of Boston sports (especially hockey!)

tom and reidTom and Reid’s new history of Boston’s sport at Boston’s college, Tales from the Boston College Hockey Locker Room, is now available at bookstores everywhere.

The book, published by Skyhorse Publishing of New York, chronicles the long and successful history of “The Montreal Game” at Boston College. It begins with the early days of “ice polo” on rivers and outdoor rinks of the 1890s and runs through the Eagles’ skein of four NCAA Championships since 2001.

Cover front2The authors interviewed dozens of former Eagle players, coaches, and rivals along the way. Included are chapters on the origins of hockey at the Heights; on BC’s iconic coaches John “Snooks” Kelley, Len Ceglarski, and Jerry York; on the NCAA Tournament’s origin and evolution; and, of course, on the Beanpot Tournament.

The book also recaps many memorable Boston College games and seasons, but it is not just for BC loyalists. As the Authors’ Note at the beginning states,

“College hockey is a unique sport. It is ‘big time,’ with many of its best players going on to win Olympic medals and carve out successful professional careers. Yet it is a ‘small’ sport as well. Relatively few schools have chosen to make the game a part of their athletic tradition and to invest the time and treasure required for success. So the college hockey community is a tightly knit one. We’re an extended family. We’re all in this together.”

Here are just a few of the comments the book has received to date:

“Fabulous read! Terrific look back on our history here!”
–BC head coach Jerry York

“A great read – and this from a BU guy!”
Gary Fay, Terrier power play point man extraordinaire

“Thoroughly enjoying my copy.”
Jim Reid, former Northeastern University crew captain and Winthrop High School’s first hockey co-captain.

“Great read, thanks for the Beanpot props!”
Mike Powers, BC’s 5-goal man in Beanpot opener, 1973

Tom Burke was Eastern College Hockey’s first national correspondent. He wrote for the Hockey News for eighteen years and was a New York Sunday Times college hockey contributor for seven years. He has served as a member of the Hobey Baker Award Selection Committee, and he annually presents the Walter Brown Award, which is named for his uncle Walter, to New England’s best American-born Division One player. Tom serves as assistant secretary of the Beanpot Tournament and has contributed to the annual Beanpot game programs for over thirty years. He also is the Boston College Varsity Club Hall of Fame’s biographer, has been the arena voice of BC hockey for twenty-seven years, and the stadium voice of BC football for thirty-nine years. Tom grew up in Winthrop, Massachusetts and now resides in West Roxbury.

Reid Oslin was affiliated with Boston College and its athletic program for forty-one years, including twenty-four years (1974–1997) as the Eagles’ associate athletic director and sports information director. During this period he attended hundreds of Boston College athletic events and got to know thousands of student athletes, coaches, staff members, and fans. He served as the senior media relations officer in the university’s Office of News and Public Affairs before retiring in 2012. Oslin is also the author of two books on the history of Boston College Football. He is a native of Springfield, Massachusetts and now resides in Scituate.

If you have questions or comments, or to schedule a talk by the authors, please email

Memoria Maris: A Visit to Gloucester Harbor

November 7, 2014

IMG_9048“They that go down to the sea in ships” reads the inscription on the famous Gloucester Fisherman statue.

The full text of that Psalm (107; 23-24) appears on a plaque in the memorial plaza overlooking the harbor. It continues “…that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.”

Those words touched my soul today, as I paid my first visit to the Fishermen’s Memorial. The statue draws thousands of tourists a year, and that’s a good thing. But it is more than just another landmark of this marvelous nation. It is sacred ground, a place of abiding sorrow, a holy shrine.

I had come as a tourist. I became a pilgrim.

I was glad that no one was nearby. The steady rain and the smoky, low-lying clouds had kept them away. I didn’t mind the rain at all. I didn’t put my jacket hood up – it seemed that to do so would be a sign of disrespect. The few gulls that there were on the beach cooperated, keeping a deferential silence. The tide, at lowest ebb, had uncovered the black veils of seaweed on the rocks. There wasn’t a whisper of wind. Wavelets barely crested and spent themselves at the water’s edge. I listened, though, and like Matthew Arnold on Dover Beach, I could hear them “bring the eternal note of sadness in.”

IMG_9050I prefer quiet solitude when I pay my respects and when I pray. And the Fishermen’s Memorial is a place where one should pray.

The statue, the man at the ship’s wheel, gazes intently toward the horizon. But he also keeps watch over his brothers – 5,368 Gloucestermen known to have died at sea – who are honored there. At his feet, on the semicircular wall that curves oceanward, are the plaques with the names. The first is Jeremiah Allen, deceased in 1716. The last is Peter Prybot, who perished in 2011. There is ample space below Peter’s name for additional honorees. And yes, it is only a matter of time before more names arrive.

memorial 1aThe memorial says that they were called fishermen, but they were known by other names: father, husband, brother, son. They deserve our prayers. Today, walking in the autumn rain, I gave them mine.

The psalmist, whoever he was, was right about the Lord’s wonders in the deep. Masefield’s joyous “call of the running tide” and his tall ships and stars to steer them by have stirred the blood and beckoned to the adventurous. We can all wax eloquent as we speak of flashing seas and glorious dawns and calm blue lagoons. But that is not the lot of those who go down to the sea in ships. Just a short walk from the Fishermen’s Memorial is another plaque with the following passage from Kipling’s Captains Courageous:

“’We lose one hundred a year from Gloucester only, Mr. Cheyne,’ she said— ‘one hundred boys an’ men; and I’ve come so’s to hate the sea as if it ‘twuz alive an’ listenin’. God never made it for humans to anchor on.’”

No, that’s not why God made the sea. And I would not gainsay anyone from Gloucester who had also come to hate the sea as if it were alive and listening. I thought of Jeremiah Allan and of Peter Prybot. And of all those since Jeremiah and before Peter, and of those yet to come. Whose brother, son, father, husband were they? What were their dreams, their hopes, their fears – and their loves – that the sea has taken from them? We don’t know. Maybe some day, when they return, we will.

When I departed the Gloucester shore this afternoon, I thought of the Book of Common Prayer’s rite for burial at sea: “We therefore commit his body to the deep…looking for the resurrection of the body, when the sea shall give up her dead, and the life of the world to come.”

May the Gloucester Fisherman stand strong and firm until that day, and may he be the first to welcome back his long lost brothers when the sea at last gives up her dead.