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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With former Harvard Head Coach Bill Cleary

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, February 7 at 1:00 p.m. ET, former Harvard Head Coach Bill Cleary enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Cleary was a fixture behind the Crimson bench from 1971 to 1990.



Ted Donato


Bill Cleary's association with Harvard spanned six decades, starting as program seller at Harvard Stadium, through his days as a standout player, his 19-year head coaching tenure and concluding with his 11-year term as the Nichols Family Director of Athletics.

Cleary ranks among the greatest athletes to play for Harvard - lettering in both baseball and ice hockey - and still holds or shares seven University records in hockey. He was a first-team All-America selection in 1954-55 when he helped the Crimson to the Beanpot title, a berth in the NCAA Final Four and an overall 17-3-1 record. In 1956, Cleary was a member of the U.S. Olympic hockey team that captured a silver medal. Four years later, he was the top scorer for the U.S. team that won gold at Squaw Valley.

Cleary began his tenure as the men's hockey head coach in 1971, where he posted a 324-201-22 record. In 1989, he guided the Crimson to a 31-3 record and the NCAA championship, the first NCAA team title in school history. Under Cleary, Harvard reached college hockey's Final Four seven times and advanced to the National Championship game three times. Harvard also won two ECAC Tournament titles, four Beanpot championships, and 11 Ivy League championships.

In 1997, Cleary received the Lester Patrick Award for contributions to hockey, was named to the NCAA Ice Hockey 50th Anniversary Team, was chosen a U.S. Hockey Player of the Decade (1956-66) and was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1989, he was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and in 2001, ECAC Commissioner Phil Buttafuoco announced that the trophy which is awarded to the regular-season champion would be known as the "Cleary Cup".


** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Bill won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 7th, and his time will be limited, so feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Welcome to another "Tuesday @ The Rink" doubleheader. We will be joined momentarily by Harvard hockey legend Bill Cleary, with USCHO ECAC Correspondent Tim McDonald joining us at 2:00.
CSTV.com Moderator: Coach Cleary has joined us.
Coach Cleary: Hi, everyone. It is a pleasure to be here. I'm looking forward to all of your questions.

Ned (Worcester): What did you think of last night's Beanpot games?
Coach Cleary: Well, Harvard did not win, so it was not a good Beanpot. We haven't had much success lately in the Beanpot. We came on in the third period and had some great opportunities to tie and possibly win that game, though. Having played in the second Beanpot (I missed the first one because I was a freshman and freshmen could not play then), that was played before friends and family, basically. Now, to see over 17,000 people every year on those first two Mondays in February makes it, I think, the best collegiate hockey tournament of its kind in the country.

Ed (Walpole): Mr. Cleary, would you rather see college players participating in the Olympics next week, rather than the NHL players? I for one, miss seeing the non-professionals compete in the Olympics. Thanks.
Coach Cleary: I am vehemently opposed to the pros playing in the Olympics. They are only in there because of money, sponsorships and those things, and that is not the purpose of the Olympic Games. When I coached Harvard, I always wanted to get young men who had a chance to make an Olympic team - that is the type of player I tried to recruit for our program. I think I had at least one, and some times as many as four players, playing on every Olympic team during my tenure at Harvard. I think the "Dream Team" is the worst thing that has happened.

Nat (Washington, D.C.): It seems like college hockey has a developing trend towards special events at outdoor rinks. Having played in the Olympics on an outdoor rink, what are some of the challenges that come from playing outdoors in a game situation (as opposed to pickup hockey outdoors)?
Coach Cleary: When I played, I believe all Olympic games were played outside, so you had to concern yourself with the elements. We never thought much of it, though, because that is what you did. We grew up playing on the ponds, much moreso than kids do now. We only had a few indoor rinks in the Boston area, so as a result, we were used to playing on all the great little skating areas in the Boston region. To me, it is an experience that the players today don't have much of a chance to enjoy. It is a wonderful treat.

Jack (Brookline): Coach, do you think Harvard hockey will ever be able to assemble the talent you did in the 80's and early 90's?
Coach Cleary: I certainly hope so. If anyone can do it, it is Ted Donato. He is a tremendous man and already is an outstanding coach. I think he will attract many good players to Harvard. In fact, I think he has already done an outstanding job against the best programs in the country in his first year and a half in the position.

Don (New York): Coach, when Ted Donato took the job at Harvard, he often referred to trying to bring your style of play back to the Crimson. In your opinion, to what degree has he done that?
Coach Cleary: I think Ted has definitely brought the style of speed, quickness, passing and skill back into the game. This is not surprising because that is the type of player he was when he played. This is something that I think is lacking in all of hockey and it delights me to go and watch Harvard play, because I enjoy that skillful style.

Ben (New York): Coach Donato seems to be moving the team's style of play back toward the flowing, skating style your teams displayed. Do you believe it's possible for Harvard to attract the caliber of student-athlete that can make that brand of hockey an NCAA championship brand of hockey again?
Coach Cleary: That is always the challenge when you are coaching at Harvard or any of the Ivy schools, but I certainly think we have been able to attract that type of individual over the years. With Ted's presence on the Harvard bench, I think that type of young man will want to go to Harvard.

Bruce Carlisle San Francisco: Bill: It seems like this has been a better year than usual for the ECAC against Hockey East and other leagues. Do you feel that the competitiveness of the ECAC is improving and if so, are there any broads trends you see contributing to that.
Coach Cleary: This year definitely has been more successful for the ECAC. I'm not sure what the total reasons may be, but there seems to be a growing trend to more parity across all of college hockey, not just in the ECAC. In fact, Harvard has had more success against the other leagues than we have had in our own league.

Tony (Boston): Having played both baseball and hockey at Harvard, and having played and coached in the Beanpot, how do you feel about there being a Beanpot in baseball?
Coach Cleary: There is a Beanpot in baseball. It is played at Fenway Park in April every year. It hasn't been going on as long as hockey. Of course, UMass is playing as the fourth team, in place of BU, which has given up baseball. I think you bring up a good point about playing more than one sport, because I worry about the specialization amongst the younger boys today playing just one sport. When I coached, if a boy did not play at least one other sport, I would not recruit that player. I firmly believe that you win with athletes. Athletes are kids that play all sports, not just one.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Cleary this afternoon.
Coach Cleary: Thank you for having me. I enjoyed it very much.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us for part two of today's doubleheader at the top of the hour, when we are joined by USCHO ECAC Correspondent Tim McDonald.

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