Feb. 9, 2006
By Elliot Olshansky
It's a spectacular week to be a hockey fan. "Spectacular" as in "spectacle," and lots of it.
On Saturday afternoon, the eyes of the college hockey world - and a good chunk of the sports world in general - will turn toward
Meanwhile, just over 200 miles away in
It's also Winter Carnival weekend in
The Big Green isn't the only ECACHL team looking to put on a show, either: Rensselaer will host Brown on Saturday night in the Engineers' annual "Big Red Freakout!," described in a 1983 press release as "an orgy of school spirit with everyone wearing red and making as much noise as possible".
In addition to the usual festivities surrounding the BRF!, Saturday's game will also see the conclusion of a year-long effort to promote and raise money for cancer research inspired by team captain Kirk MacDonald's battle with the disease. After each RPI home game this season, one or more of the Engineers has had his head shaved on the ice, after fans contributed over $100 per player to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The last two heads will be shaved following Saturday's game: RPI senior Kevin Croxton, and MacDonald himself. Washington Capitals forward Matt Pettinger, a friend of MacDonald and a former Denver Pioneer, is also contributing to the Engineers' efforts, as a jersey signed by Pettinger and several of his Capitals teammates - including Rookie of the Year candidate Alexander Ovechkin - will be raffled off following the game.
The "spectacular" weekend of college hockey even extends north of the border, as Brian Riley takes his Army team up to
Oh, and as if that weren't enough in the way of spectacle, Monday is the second day of the Beanpot, with Boston College and
GETTING TO KNOW: Canisus Defenseman John Patera
Predicting that John Patera would find a place in the athletic world wouldn't have been too hard to predict. That his place would be on the ice might have been just a bit harder.
Patera's grandfather, Jack Patera, was a fourth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Colts after a successful college career at
While John did follow family tradition on to the gridiron at The Blake School, his athletic pursuits are now focused on the ice, where he has chipped in three assists in 21 games as a freshman defenseman for Canisius.
Of course, as John Patera grew up in
"My mom took us out skating when we were three," John recalled of his introduction to the ice. "That's pretty much what you can do in the winter in
Size also played a role. While Patera is a solid physical specimen at 6'0" and 200 pounds, "I'm also considerably smaller than all of the other guys on the Patera side, so football probably wasn't an option. I like [hockey] better than football, anyway."
That's not a traditionally popular opinion in the Patera family, which can sometimes make things tough to understand for John's relatives when it comes to his athletic pursuits.
"They definitely think it's weird," John said of his family's understanding of hockey. "It's kind of a weird little sport to them."
Still, when John's father moved to
Besides, with Jack Patera having left the football world far behind after being fired by
"My grandpa is pretty removed from the football world now," John said, "and he lives out in a place called Cle Elum in the middle of nowhere, so you hear more stories about hunting."
That might be wisdom that John can put to use with the Golden Griffins, as they hunt for more points down the home stretch of the Atlantic Hockey season.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK AND WHAT IT MEANS: "When I left [the
The Beanpot stands alongside the NCAA Tournament as one of college hockey's grandest stages, and Collins used that stage to turn in a virtuoso performance against the Huskies. While the most impressive goal of the day belonged to Chris Higgins of
When Patrick Eaves left Chestnut Hill to sign with the Ottawa Senators, BC was apparently left without a dominant scorer, and Hockey East was left without a serious contender for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. With his Beanpot performance against Northeastern, Collins has served notice to the entire nation that he is both. With 43 points this season, Collins has scored more points in 2005-06 than he did in his sophomore and junior seasons combined.
THE LINE-UP: Top Six Beanpot Paint Jobs
One of the most quoted lines out of last season's Beanpot press conferences was BU head coach Jack Parker's observation that "BC fans wear T-Shirts. BU fans wear jerseys."
A quick walk around the balcony of TD Banknorth Garden during Monday's Beanpot provided other evidence: while the BC "Super Fan" T-shirt was the most popular sartorial choice among Eagles fans, there certainly were a good number of maroon and gold jerseys in the crowd. However, there is one more accurate difference that Parker is too far from the fans in the balcony to notice: BU fans paint their faces. BC fans don't. With that in mind, here are the top six paint jobs I captured with my camera while making my way around the balcony at the Beanpot.
No. 6: The checkered look is pretty basic, but simplicity can be very effective. Besides, people aren't going to be able to pick out the more intricate designs from more than a section or two away, anyhow.
No. 5: I'm not sure exactly what the influence is behind this design, but it's certainly worthy of the pro wrestling world, if nothing else.
No. 4: Perhaps this one is an homage to Terriers goaltender John Curry, who can certainly show "brick wall" tendencies at times. This is a tough design to pull off, and there was some serious effort involved here.
No. 3: The paint design here brings back childhood memories of the Ultimate Warrior, but I'm not exactly sure where the sparkly red cowboy hat fits into the equation.
No. 2: OK, it can't all be about BU. Contrary to popular belief, there were some Harvard fans at TD Banknorth Garden for this one, and this one attempted to make up for his fellow students' apathy by sheer force of will...and paint.
No. 1: Yet another reason why Parker's "jerseys/t-shirts" comment doesn't quite fit: it leaves out the BU fans who are crazy enough not to wear a shirt at all.