The Beanpot at a glance: New England college hockey’s event of the year
It’s that time of year again in New England. The weather is cold, the Christmas season is over and it’s a long countdown to the first day of spring. While the Patriots are not playing in the Super Bowl this year, there is still one more February sporting event to get excited about.
We’re talking about the Beanpot of course.
Played on the first two Mondays of February, the Beanpot is a local college hockey tournament that pits the four major Boston college hockey teams, Boston University, Boston College, Harvard University and Northeastern University, against each other. Now in its 61st year, the Beanpot has become one of the biggest hockey events of the year in New England and is one of the best-known college hockey tournaments in the country.
For the next four days leading up to Monday’s Beanpot semifinal games, we will publish a Beanpot preview for each team, but for today, we’ll focus on the details of the tournament itself.
The Beanpot began in December, 1952 as a Christmas tournament played between BC, BU, Harvard and Northeastern. The first Beanpot was held at Boston Arena (now known as Matthews Arena) and Harvard came out the victor.
The tournament was moved to the Garden the next year (where it has been played ever since) and was held in January. In 1955, the teams started playing the Beanpot tournament in February, and it has been held in February ever since except for in 1978, when the championship game was played on March 1 after the Blizzard of ’78 shut down the city for much of February.
The Beanpot is sometimes referred to as the “BU Invitational” due to the Terriers’ long-time dominance of the event. BU has won the Beanpot 29 times and played in the championship game 49 times, far and away the most championships and championship game appearances of any competitor in the tournament.
The Terriers are currently in a Beanpot drought, however, as they have not won a Beanpot since 2009. Meanwhile, Boston College is starting to make itself the name of the tournament, as the Eagles have won the past three Beanpots.
Northeastern and Harvard are attempting to wrestle away Beanpot dominance from BU and BC, as either BU or BC has won every Beanpot since 1994. Harvard last won a Beanpot in 1993, while Northeastern’s Beanpot drought extends back to 1988.
On the first Monday of every February, the four teams play in the semifinal round of the Beanpot. The opponents rotate every year for the semifinals, and this year, BU will play Northeastern in the early game at 5 p.m. on Monday while Harvard takes on BC in the late game at 8 p.m.
The winners of each game move on to the championship game, held on the next Monday at 7:30 p.m. while the losers of the first week’s game square off in a 4:30 p.m. consolation game in the second week.
Tickets are still available to this year’s Beanpot Tournament on Ticketmaster. If you are bringing young children, try to avoid sitting in the balcony as the four schools’ student sections all sit in the balcony. Their cheers and chants create a great atmosphere, but they treat the event as general admission seating and it can get cramped up there.
Other ways to watch:
If you can’t attend the games in person, all Beanpot games will be televised locally live on NESN. Bud Light will also be hosting viewing parties for fans at The North Star, The Greatest Bar, Sports Grille Boston and Sullivan’s Tap in the city for anyone age 21 or older. For any Beanpot school alum out there, all four schools organize alumni viewing parties across the nation, so contact your alma mater to find a good place to watch the game near you.