Parade, ceremony honor national champions back home at Boston College

Tuesday was another banner day at Boston College, where the school held a parade and ceremony for the newly crowned national champions.

The team boarded trolleys in front of Conte Forum with all their trophies from this season in hand. The trolleys then took the Eagles around lower campus and up Commonwealth Avenue, turning down Linden Lane and arriving at a packed O’Neill Plaza. There, the team was greeted by students, families and fans cheering on their team.

“I’m so excited to be here and look at the setting, it’s almost surreal,” coach Jerry York said to the large crowd on hand. “We’re all here celebrating something that Boston College has achieved. We’re just very, very excited to share it with everybody.”

First, the special guests in attendance were announced, which included University President Rev. William P. Leahy, U.S. Sen. John Kerry, Mayor of Newton Setti Warren and athletic director Gene DeFilippo.

Next, members of each of BC’s national championship teams brought down their respective trophies onto the stage. The 1949 team was represented by Len Ceglarski, Ed Casey and Fran Harrington. Presenting the 2001 trophy were team members Tim Kelleher, Bobby Allen and Justin Dziama. Andrew Orpik, Ken Ryan and Kyle Kucharski brought down the 2008 trophy. Next was the 2010 trophy, which was brought down by Cam Atkinson, Ben Smith and Matt Lombardi.

“It’s a remarkable achievement that we have players here from the ’49 team, the ’01 team, the ’08 team, the ’10 team, and the ’12 team,” York said. “We’re extremely proud of all those champions. But we’re also very proud of anyone that’s donned a maroon and gold sweater in the history of Boston College.”

Finally, the 2012 team was introduced, each player making his way down to the center of the celebration. Once they got to the stage, York and the senior captains — Tommy Cross, Barry Almeida and Paul Carey — presented the 2012 national championship trophy to Leahy and DeFilippo.

“I want to tell you how pleased I was and how proud I was of these young players,” York told the crowd. “They’ve done some remarkable things, especially the seniors over their four years. But this particular year was something that we’re extremely proud of.”

After Leahy, Kerry, Warren, York, Cross and DeFilippo all got the chance to say a few words to the crowd, the 2012 national champions banner was unveiled atop O’Neill Library. Then the players dispersed into the crowd to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.

In his speech, Cross was able to capture the special meaning of the day, with many of the former BC champions on hand.

“I’d like to thank the former players that are here today,” Cross said. “It’s from you guys that the guys down here wearing the jerseys and myself learned the tradition and what it takes to bring trophies home.”

Cross, who signed a contract with the Boston Bruins earlier in the day, noted the increased excitement around the team this year, different from his first three years at BC.

“It’s been unbelievable to see the support that our team has gotten this year,” Cross said. “This year, it’s gotten taken to a new level, and it’s really great to see. On behalf of my teammates, we definitely appreciate it, so thank you to all the fans. The trophy is here for you guys.”

The same parade and ceremony took place in 2010 when the Eagles won the national championship, but this year’s events marked yet another milestone in the program’s history.

With three national championships in five years, York ended his speech with a bright outlook on the future of the program.

“I want to thank you for a terrific day,” York ended, “and we’re going to have many more champions here in the future.”