BOSTON -- It was a busy week for Boston University men's hockey coach Jack Parker. Clearly unhappy with his team squandering a 2-0 lead against UMass and settling for a 2-2 tie last Saturday, Parker spent a good portion preparing his troops for last night's rematch in Amherst. But Parker also took time to go to the movies on Monday with a very important former player, Travis Roy.
Then, on Wednesday, Parker and his wife, Jacqueline, went out to dinner with their daughter Allison, and again Roy joined his former coach.
"We're going out to celebrate Allison's birthday," Parker said earlier this week, "but I don't want Travis to be alone that night."
The world, as Travis Roy and Jack Parker knew it, changed irrevocably 15 years ago, on Oct. 20, 1995. Eleven seconds into his first shift with the Boston University hockey team, with future NHL star Chris Drury skating shotgun alongside him, Roy went into the corner to check a North Dakota player. He missed, hit the boards awkwardly and fell to the ice. The impact shattered Roy's fourth and fifth vertebrae, leaving him a quadriplegic. Roy has been wheelchair-bound ever since.
"The fact that he's been in that chair for 15 years is something that's very difficult to accept," said Parker. "The fact that he's dealing with it so well is fabulous."
With help from supporters and a close-knit family, Roy formed the Travis Roy Foundation to help fund research and treatment of spinal chord injuries and give financial assistance to those who've suffered similar injuries. He also is in demand as a motivational speaker.
"I always tell people, whenever this subject comes up, is that the worst thing that ever happened to me as the coach of the Boston University hockey team is the injury to Travis Roy," said Parker. "And the best thing that's ever happened to me as the coach of the Boston University hockey Team is the way everyone responded to the injury to Travis Roy. The way the Boston University community rallied around Travis was just unbelievable."
Next week, Parker and longtime rival and friend Boston College hockey coach Jerry York, will received the NHL's Lester Patrick Award, for contributions to the game, at TD Bank Garden. But Parker will receive the award secure in the knowledge that his contributions to the life of Travis Roy are every bit as important.
"He's like a son to me, and I'm like a surrogate father to him when his dad's not around," said Parker. "That's what it's evolved into. We're very, very close."
Boston University 4, UMass Amherst 3
This time against the Minutemen, the Terriers didn't let the game get away. Facing their cross-state rivals for the second time in a week, eigth-ranked BU squeezed out a 4-3 win at the Mullins Center. Freshman Charlie Coyle continued with his hot hand, tallying a goal and an assist for the undefeated Terriers (3-0-1), while senior co-captain Joe Pereira potted a pair of goals. UMass (0-3-1), which is still looking for its first win, got its first lead of the season when the Minutemen went up 1-0 after the first, but couldn't hold it as the Terriers rallied with three unanswered goals. The Minutemen did get another strong performance from freshman goalie Jeff Teglia (33 saves) and sophomore Darren Rowe, who scored twice. The Terriers play host to Providence on Saturday.
UMass Lowell 5, Providence 4 (OT)
In a game with big momentum swings, the host River Hawks got the last laugh, pinning an overtime loss on the visiting Friars with Riley Wetmore getting the game-winner 36 seconds into the extra session. Providence held leads of 2-1 and 3-2 after the first and second periods, respectively, but couldn't seal the deal. Two third-period strikes by the River Hawks put UMass Lowell up 4-3, before the Friars' Jordan Kremyr knotted the game with less than five minutes remaining. Lowell's Joseph Pendenza led the River Hawks with two goals. The River Hawks (1-1-2) will take on Northeastern at Tsongas Center on Saturday, while Providence (1-3-0) visits BU.
Maine 7, North Dakota 3
Tim Whitehead's Black Bears returned to the friendly confines of Alfond Arena, but were in no mood to roll out the welcome mat for the second-ranked Fighting Sioux. Instead, Maine (2-1-2) exploded for five first-period goals to cruise to a comfortable 7-3 win, handing North Dakota (3-1-1) its first loss of the season. Junior Gustav Nyquist led the Maine attack, garnering three points on a goal and two assists, but it was Brian Flynn of Lynnfield, Mass., who set the tone for the game, tallying two goals in the first 10 minutes after Robby Dee opened the scoring at the 43-second mark. The two squads meet again Saturday at Alfond.