Written by Sarah Kirkpatrick, July 11, 2015
The first annual Comm. Ave. Charity Classic game between Boston University and Boston College hockey alumni raised more than $55,000 to support those affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Friday evening at Walter Brown Arena. The Terriers won the scrimmage, 7-5.
The game was brought to life by BC alum Pat Mullane, who organized the event in honor of former BC Sports Information Director Dick Kelley. Kelley died in 2014 of ALS. The proceeds benefitted Compassionate Care ALS, a nonprofit that provides support to those who battle the degenerative disease, which causes loss of control over voluntary muscles.
Pete Frates, who has ALS and created the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise ALS awareness, attended the event and was recognized prior to the game. His family, alongside the family of Kelley, performed the ceremonial puck drop.
“It’s unbelievable,” said BU goaltender Anthony Moccia, a 2015 graduate. “$55,000? It doesn’t get better than that. We got to see Pete before the game, and meet his family, and for such a great cause, it’s a pleasure to be a part of it. And hopefully we can keep this up.”
“It’s fun for us, and it raises money for a great cause, so it’s easy for us to do,” added BU Director of Hockey Operations Scott Young, who played for BU from 1985 to 1987. “I know they thank us for being here, but this is a pleasure for us to come do this and raise money for ALS.”
The game featured current NHL stars like BC alums Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames and Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers, and former professional greats such as BC’s Brian Leetch and hall-of-famer Ray Bourque. Bourque’s son, Chris, played for BU, and the elder Bourque suited up for BU as a special guest.
“Jumped right to it, I think every guy did,” said former BU and current Minnesota Wild player Charlie Coyle, who had a hat trick in the game. “Everyone wants to help out any way they can, and doing it at a spot we love, that’s a plus too.”
“It’s a win-win situation and I think everyone had a blast doing it, it was just a great time.”
While the longstanding rivalry between BU and BC was fresh in some of the players’ minds, Coyle noted that the cause was the overwhelming focus.
“It’s a charity game but we want to win, it’s still BC-BU rivalry,” Coyle said. “So you don’t go overboard, but just have some fun doing it, be competitive.”
Many of the BU players said the game was also a great way to reunite with their friends and former opponents.
“It was great to see my old teammates, and play with Coach Young, and a lot of great players here on both teams,” said Moccia, who started the game in net for BU and had 15 saves in his appearance.
Moccia, who appeared in four total games in his BU career from 2011 to 2015, said he was nervous entering the game since he had not trained recently.
“I haven’t been doing much, because I’ve just been searching for a job, so I’ve worked out pretty hard the past couple days, prepared for the worst,” he said. “But it felt great to get back out there.”
Young, who retired from professional hockey in 2006, also noted the fatigue factor, but said he embraced the opportunity to come back and play for his school.
“When I was looking at the graduation years, I was one of the older guys on the ice,” Young said. “So to go up against all these guys that are currently in the NHL, they’re excellent players, and it’s really great that they came out of here and took time out of their schedule. This is a lot of fun for us, us retired guys, to get to come play again.”