Longevity in hockey is largely defined by Jack Parker’s tenure at Boston University, where for over 40 years the native Bay Stater was an iconic figure and accumulated a head coaching record of 897-472-115.
Having retired from BU following the 2012-13 season, Parker now helps coordinate fundraising efforts and outreach programs to benefit the university and was a guest of the Los Angeles Kings during the January 11 home game against the Boston Bruins.
Prior to the game, Parker, who began his head coaching career in the 1973-74 season and guided the Terriers to NCAA championships in 1978, 1995 and 2009, spoke as part of a Pre-Beanpot Night panel that included men’s and women’s varsity and club players, and those who have played professionally in Boston, in front of a group of BU, Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern supporters and alumni. The annual Beanpot Tournament, a Boston institution, is contested between the four major Boston hockey programs during the first week of February.
Parker, on his current role with Boston University:
I’m around doing some consulting for some of the other coaches in the department. I’m doing some stuff for fundraising, the development office and things like that. And I’ve also been involved in hockey too. I coached the USA team in the Deutschland Cup in October and I’ll do something else in the spring… So I’ll do a little bit of coaching. It’s like substitute teaching. It’s not like doing what I was doing for the last 40 years.
Parker, on winning the 2009 National Championship in his 35th year at BU:
It was nice because we hadn’t won it in a while. We won it in ’78 and we won it in ’95 and then we won it in 2009. So there was a space in between each one of them and there were some ups and downs in those seasons. We came close a lot of times. We were in the finals a lot of times. But I think the last one was the best because we had to come from behind to get two goals with a minute to go in the game to win it.
Parker, on the comeback over Miami University in the 2009 NCAA Championship game:
There were a couple things we had – we always practiced things to do when we pulled the goalie, 6-on-5. But this was different because we were pulling the goalie with three minutes left to go because we were down by two goals. We had to figure it out. We usually only have one unit that goes out. We put two units together. And we always talk about making the plays from behind the net, because nobody will chase you from behind there. So we tried to remind them of that and just take it from there. And great players make great plays. That’s why we got to the overtime.
Parker, on playing at BU with Jack Ferreira, Los Angeles Kings Special Assistant to the General Manager:
He was a terrific goalie. In fact, he still holds the records for most shutouts in the ECAC – more than Ken Dryden. He was a senior when I was a sophomore, you could only play three years in those days. He played three years. For example, you played three years against some teams you play once a year or twice a year. He played Yale, for example, three times in his college career and Yale never got a goal against him. He was a terrific college goalie.
While playing for Jack Kelley at Boston University from 1965 to 1968, Parker was well acquainted with Kelley’s son, David, who went on to captain Princeton’s hockey team and would eventually win or share 10 Emmy awards as a writer with L.A. Law and the creator of Picket Fences, The Practice and Ally McBeal, amongst a variety of other television dramas.
Parker, on his recollections of a young David E. Kelley at BU:
David was the coach’s son obviously and he was our stick boy. When we would go to our banquet at the end of the year, there’d be dignitaries there from the university, people giving speeches, there’d be people giving out awards, and then Jack Kelley would invite his son David up, nine years-old, to give a recap of the season in poetry. So he always had a talent for writing, even then. And I can remember my good friend Billy Riley and Billy Hinch were sitting at the table with me at the banquet, and [saying], ‘This kid is smarter than we are right now!’
Photos from Pre-Beanpot Night: