Cobblestone Cup: a north of Boston Beanpot?

Monday night I watched the very exciting 2011 Beanpot final on TV. Boston College defeated Northeastern in overtime by a score of 7-6. While the consolation game earlier that evening wasn’t televised, someone who was there told me that was a fantastic game as well, with Harvard beating Boston University 5-4.

The Beanpot has long been a signature event for college hockey in Boston. This was its 59th year and each tournament features the same four teams playing on the same two nights: the preliminary round is the first Monday in February with the final/consolation games on the second Monday. It is a true “event” that leaves the TD Garden packed and all the restaurants, bars and related establishments in the vicinity of Causeway Street packed with patrons.

During my weekly call-in to WCAP yesterday, I asked why Lowell can’t have a similar tournament. Three hockey teams would be natural participants: UMass Lowell, Merrimack and UNH. The fourth might be UMass Amherst, a natural rival for UML and a team representing an industrial region of New England, the Pioneer Valley. These four teams are already in the same conference (Hockey East) and they already play each other multiple times each season. I’m sure that altering schedules is a multi-year process, but you have to start sometime. Best of all, such an event might play right into City Manager Bernie Lynch’s vision for a reborn Winterfest.

11 Responses to Cobblestone Cup: a north of Boston Beanpot?

  1. Marty Lorrey says:

    I have always thought that would be great for the area as well. There a plenty of Division 1 teams in the area that may like to play as well ,althrough I agree Merrimack and U.Ma.Lowel would always be the main focus.l. Locally Holy Cross,U.M.Amhurst,Dartmouth,U.Conn,A.I.C.,and Bowdoin may also be interested. Althrough not all from the same city the tournment would certainly would be a focal point for college hockey fans.

  2. Bob Forrant says:

    As a Northeastern alum who still has nightmares about the Beanpot and NU’s miserable time there – this is why I hate ‘For Boston’ and all BC and BU band music – what a great idea to build such a tradition right here. Fourth team might also be UMaine. Let UMass Amherst, the alleged flagship get their own tournament!

    I volunteer to be the first commissioner unless you want the job, Mr. Howe!

  3. Mark says:

    I’m not saying that I came up with this idea, but Dick twitter feeds are on the interwebs Dick, a mention would have been nice! :) I agree this is a great idea, and my gripe with the BU Invitational errr Bean Pot is that it’s only 4 teams. Marty’s list of schools would bring it to eight which would be more exciting then four.

  4. Dan Murphy says:


    LOVE the idea. Having gone to the revamped Arena for one of the UML hockey games, I know it’d be well-received. You could finally pack the place.

  5. kad barma says:

    Why college hockey? Why not high school hockey at the Tsongas? Lowell High School, Lowell Catholic, Central Catholic, Dracut, Chelmsford, etc. etc. etc. We’ve got great high school hockey around here, and this would be a way to get out from under biased beanpot comparisons with the high school equivalent.

  6. PaulM says:

    UML Athletics Director Dana Skinner reminded me that for four years UML played in the Governors’ Cup against UNH, Maine, and Vermont. The contest lasted long enough for each school to host the tourney once, but it stopped for lack of interest after Vermont was added to Hockey East. Seems that the relevant coaches did not favor a tournament that included four Hockey East schools, according to Dana.

  7. Andrew says:

    There Are upsides to having a tournament mid-season. The article in the Globe about the women’s Beanpot quoted BC’s coach as saying that having a tournament halfway through the season is great, because if you win, you have a title and it becomes a major confidence booster. I wouldn’t be surprised if Harvard’s men’s coach would say the same thing after we beat #15 BU on Monday.

    My question for a Lowell-based college tournament would be whether anyone would show increased interest…if it’s just Hockey East schools, they already play each other repeatedly. The Beanpot capitalizes on the mutual dislike BC, BU, and NEU share for each other and throws in an ECAC team to ensure someone comes in last place (except for this year!). It also helps that BC and BU are two of the best teams in the country.

  8. Dean says:

    I have been saying for years why not bring World Jr. Hockey Championship to Lowell. It can also be a recruiting tool for UML/Lowell of young foreign players.

  9. James says:

    While I would love to see this tournament, the main problem would be the rules of NCAA hockey scheduling. Teams in Hockey East are limited in the number of non-conference games they can play because they already have 27 league games scheduled (Perhaps the real reason the governor’s cup was discontinued was that the addition of UVM meant each team had 3 less non-conference games to play with). Whenever BU, BC or NU play eachother in the Beanpot it is considered a non-conference game. The tournament (at least in the Beanpot format) could not consist of conference games because there’s no guarantee that all teams will play eachother, plus HE teams would likely be weary of giving up their home league games to a neutral site. So a Beanpot-like tournament would ultimately eliminate two opportunities for nonconference games per team, which are extremely important for purposes of making the NCAAs. When BU and BC play eachother an extra time, its more than ok because of tradition, but I don’t think in the reality of today’s college hockey teams are going to be thrilled about playing extra games against the teams they already see 3 times a year.

    However, perhaps an invitational tournament with rotating non conference opponents might be an option. Perhaps Lowell could try to bid for the IceBreaker, an annual invitational tournament that kicks off the season, it was at Agganis a couple years ago. The issue with this option is that there are now a lot of in-season tournaments already, so booking teams might be more difficult.

  10. Jonathan Crockett says:

    Dick, great idea to have a local tournament!! As the Athletic Director at Middlesex Community College (Lowell and Bedford), I’m really intrigued by this idea. Middlesex Community College has a very talented hockey team that has been playing against area colleges such as Bentley, Harvard, RISD, Suffolk, Dartmouth, Colby-Sawyer, UMASS Lowell, and Babson, and we are always looking for more games with good competition. Check out our website at

    We’d LOVE to get in the mix with a local tournament – perhaps this is worth setting up a meeting of all interested parties to talk about possibilities. I can be found at, or 781-280-3785. VERY ENCOURAGING – let’s make this happen!!

  11. Mark says:

    Andrew, if you had the finals the same weekend as a revamped winterfest and much like the BU Invitational UML managed to make the finals more often then not- JACKPOT!

    But your point is well taken about the rivalry aspect. Maybe UML needs to start beating on the Merrimack kids a little to get some bad blood flowing….