TAMPA, Fla. — “Unless you’re Boston College, you don’t get here every year.”
Minnesota coach Don Lucia was talking about his team’s joy at advancing to the Frozen Four and was stressing the importance of taking advantage of the opportunity when he paid his upcoming opponent the biggest of compliments.
“Unless you’re Boston College,” he said, “you don’t get here every year.”
The off-hand remark doesn’t stretch the truth much at all. This year marks BC’s fifth Frozen Four appearance in the last seven seasons and the 10th in the last 15. No other team can match that success.
Indeed, Boston College has become almost synonymous of late with Frozen Four appearances.
“We take great pride in it,” said BC coach Jerry York.
York arrived at Boston College in 1994, inheriting a program that had fallen on tough times. After three rebuilding seasons, he led the Eagles to the first of four straight Frozen Four appearances, kicking off the 10-of-15 streak.
“The expectations are high, and we expect a lot out of ourselves,” BC captain Tommy Cross said. “We know how hard it is to get here and how hard it is to win. It’s an honor to be part of a program like [Lucia] referenced.”
Fellow senior Paul Carey pointed to the culture York has developed.
“Coach York has made it part of our culture,” Carey said. “Each year, he expects his teams to work hard and really try as hard as they can to get here.”
According to York, there’s no rocket science involved.
“It’s no secret from my perspective,” he said. “It’s making sure you have a lot of good players, and they have to be focused on team goals.
“We feel at BC that when you come into our program, no one player’s bigger than the Eagle. You’re there for one purpose. You represent our school. Your focus is on winning trophies.
“I don’t care how good the player is. The reason we’re so effective is that they all buy into that system. They’re all team-first. It sounds simple to say; it’s really difficult to do.”
Simple but difficult. Ask all the other coaches in college hockey.