By Michael Muldoon, email@example.com
Boston College photoIn this 2010, photo, from left, Boston College hockey head coach Jerry York, assistant sports information director Dick Kelley of Andover and star player Chris Kreider from Phillips Academy have a discussion. Kreider and a who’s who of hockey talent will be playing in a charity game Friday in Kelley’s memory.
Pat Mullane was cautiously optimistic he’d get a strong response when he planned a Boston College-Boston University alumni hockey game. But even Mullane, the captain of the 2012-13 Eagles, didn’t expect anything quite like this.
Friday evening’s Comm. Ave. Charity Classic all-star game at BU’s Walter Brown Arena to benefit Compassionate Care ALS is filled with legends from the two hockey superpowers.
It was inspired by the BC sports information director Dick Kelley, a 1983 Andover High grad who lost his battle with ALS in February 2014.
“BC and BU, it’s never been done,” said Mullane. “So many people are passionate about it (the rivalry). Obviously, it’s special to me. When originally we reached out, we didn’t know who would be interested and if it would pan out. That’s the unique part of the hockey culture, how supportive and passionate hockey players are.”
The BC team includes Brian Leetch, Johnny Gaudreau, Jimmy Hayes, ex-Phillips Andover greats Chris Kreider and Cory Schneider and on and on. Not to be outdone, the BU team features Tom Poti, Shawn McEachern, Scott Young and Chris Bourque.
Also, an honorary Terrier will be playing: Bourque’s father Ray.
Mullane said, “I reached out to Chris and asked if Chris would play. He said, ‘I think my dad would be a good fit.’
“That blew me away! It makes it 10 times better. Two of the five best defensemen ever to play (Bourque and Leetch) on the same ice.”
The Boston College sports community has been hit hard by ALS.
Former Eagle baseball captain Pete Frates is the man behind the ice bucket challenge which swept the country last summer. He’s fighting the disease while Kelley and former football star Ron Perryman (brother of ex-Patriot Robert Perryman of North Andover) lost their battles with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The game is dedicated to these three.
Mullane always wanted to give back and figured this was the perfect cause.
He explained, “Another BC captain, Ryan Shannon (BC ‘04), put on a game in Darien, Conn., for spinal cord awareness. All the NHL guys down there played. I played two or three years and thought it was a great idea.
“Since then, I’ve always thought, ‘How can I use my hockey resources to put together something like this?’”
He enlisted the help of another former Eagle, Andrew Orpik, and the idea took off. Former Bruin and Devil Jay Pandolfo was at the forefront of getting commitments from the BU greats.
Kelley, whose parents Ed and Ann still live in Andover, had a profound effect on Mullane as he did so many other BC athletes during his 25 years working at his alma mater.
“It was a no-brainer to have the name in DK’s memory. DK was such an important part of my life,” said Mullane. “He could have seen me as just another student — a pretty ignorant, cocky freshman — and let me do my thing.
“He took me aside and mentored me. We’d meet monthly and talk about school and hockey and, more importantly, life.
“He’d say, ‘Pat, you have so much potential. You’re so charismatic. You have to use it in the right way.’ He was able to see something more in me. He pushed me to be a better athlete and a better human being.”
About the game
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Where: BU’s Walter Brown Arena
To benefit: Compassionate Care ALS
Tickets: $10 through Ticketmaster, at the Agganis Arena box office or at the arena Friday night
Other highlights: silent auction, raffles, giveaways, player autographs