Jack Parker's Wiseguys : The National Champion BU Terriers, the Blizzard of '78, and the Miracle on Ice Hardback
by Tim Rappleye
Over the winter of 1977-78, anyone within shouting distance of a two-mile stretch of Boston's Commonwealth Avenue-from Fenway Park to the trolley curve at Packard's Corner-found themselves pulled into the orbit of college hockey.
The hottest ticket in a sports-mad city was Boston University's Terriers, a team so tough it was said they didn't have fans-they took hostages.
Eschewing the usual recruiting pools in Canada, Jack Parker and his coaching staff assembled a squad that included three stars from nearby Charlestown, then known as the "armed robbery capital of America." Jack Parker's Wiseguys is the story of a high-flying, headline-dominating, national championship squad led by three future stars of the "Miracle on Ice," the 1980 U.S.
Olympic hockey team that beat the heavily favored Soviet Union.
Now retired, Parker is a thoughtful statesman for the sport, a revered figure who held the longest tenure of any coach in Boston sports history.
But during the 1977-78 season, he was just five years into his reign-and only a decade or so older than his players.
Fiery, mercurial, as tough as any of his tough guys, Parker and his team were to face the pressure-cooker expectations of four previous also-ran seasons, further heightened by barroom brawls, off-the-ice shenanigans, and the citywide shutdown caused by the biggest blizzard to ever hit the Northeast. The '78 season was to be Parker's watershed, a roller-coaster ride of nail-biting victories and unimaginable tragedy, played out in increasingly strident headlines as his team opened the season with an unprecedented twenty-one straight wins.
The first loss of the year eliminated the Terriers from their league playoffs and possibly from national contention; hours later Parker's wife died from cancer.
The story of how the team responded-coming back to win the national championship a week after Parker buried his wife-makes a compelling tale for Boston sports fans and everyone else who feels a thrill of pride at America's unlikely win over the Soviet national team-a victory forged on Commonwealth Avenue in that bitter, beautiful winter of '78.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 288 pages, 36 illus.
- Publisher: University Press of New England
- Publication Date: 23/01/2018
- Category: Sports teams & clubs
- ISBN: 9781512601558