June 15, 2015 by John Connolly
It has long been said that the Boston College and Boston University ice hockey teams would play in a parking lot to settle matters, if need be.
Well, the BC and BU alumni will be meeting again on the frozen surface on July 10 at 7 p.m at Walter Brown Arena. Only this time it won’t merely be to determine local bragging rights. The game is the first annual Commonwealth Avenue Classic, a charity event to benefit Compassionate Care ALS in honor of Peter Frates, Dick Kelley and all those affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Beverly’s Frates, 30, is battling ALS and is the creator of the Ice Bucket Challenge and current director of baseball operations at BC. Kelley was the popular longtime sports information official, who worked at both BU and BC before contracting the disease and passing away after a nearly three-year battle at the age of 48.
The game has already attracted a who’s who of BC and BU hockey luminaries.
Former BC players who have committed to the game include all three of its former Hobey Baker Award winners: Brian Leetch (1987), a Stanley Cup winner with the New York Rangers in 1994, Mike Mottau (2000), and Johnny Gaudreau (2013), as well as current NHL skaters Chris Kreider of Boxboro, and Dorchester siblings Jimmy and Kevin Hayes. In goal will be Cory Schneider (New Jersey) of Marblehead and Johnny Muse of Falmouth, who backstopped the Eagles to a pair of national titles.
Other ex-BC players expected to take part are Joe Whitney (New Jersey), Brian Gibbons (Columbus), Stephen Gionta (New Jersey), Paul Carey (Bruins), Brian Dumolin (Pittsburgh), Bill Arnold (Calgary) and Patrick Brown (Carolina).
The BU side is equally impressive with former All-American Scott Young of Clinton, who captured Stanley Cup rings with Pittsburgh (1991) and Colorado (1996) in a NHL career that spanned more than 1,000 games. Worcester native Tom Poti, another former All-American, who played 14 years in the NHL on defense is scheduled to play as is former Bruins forward and All-American Shawn MacEachern of Matignon High fame. MacEachern played 13 NHL seasons, winning a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 1992, and currently coaches the Rivers School in Weston.
Adam Clendening, a Vancouver Canucks defenseman and Weymouth’s Charlie Coyle, now toiling for the Minnesota Wild, have also been lined up to appear in the game. Other former Terriers expected to play are former Bruin Jay Pandolfo, ex-Philadelphia Flyer Freddy Meyer, ex-Rangers skater Chris Bourque, forward Wade Megan (Florida) and former Bruin Chris Kelleher.
“I’m biased in that I want BC to win the game, but it’s less about the game and more about the fund-raising for this charity event,” said former BC captain Pat Mullane, who is co-chairing the game with ex-Eagles forward Andrew Orpik, younger brother of Washignton Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik, who won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009.
“Dick Kelley had an incredible impact not only on me but all of the Boston College athletes and wanted to develop us into well-rounded, prototypical BC student athletes and good people. I knew Peter Frates’ wife at school and so I know how passionate he is for the game of baseball and to see him come down with ALS at such a young age is just awful,” said Mullane, who recently inked a contract to play in Finland next season.