For more than two decades there was a standing headline that would surface in the local newspapers every time the Bruins fired their coach: BU’S PARKER TOP PICK TO FILL BRUINS’ VACANCY
Legendary Boston University coach Jack Parker never quite made the jump to the NHL despite enticing overtures from then Bruins general manager Harry Sinden. Parker remained at the helm of his alma mater for 40 years and amassed 897 wins, the third most in Division 1 college hockey and the most at one school.
Parker’s remarkable tenure at BU was recognized last night as he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.
Parker confirmed he twice considered leaving Commonwealth Avenue for Causeway Street and the Bruins.
“I interviewed twice with them and the second time Harry gave me five days to make up my mind and I was getting calls from everybody,” Parker said. “I finally came in and told him I wasn’t taking the job and he said, ‘I knew you wouldn’t take this.’ I said, ‘Why did you say that I came this close.’ ”
“He said, ‘I would imagine at BU the players come by and drop in and see the old coach. That never happens here.’ . . . The best part about my job was the relationship I had with my former players.
“In college the players leave every three or four years and the coach stays. It is not quite the same in the pros”
Parker was the overseer of three national championships at BU, 11 conference titles and 21 Beanpot crowns.
The induction ceremony last night had a decidedly Massachusetts feel.
Somerville native Parker was joined in the 2017 induction class by retired NHL referee Kevin Collins (Springfield), former NHL star Scott Young (Clinton), U.S. Olympic women’s hockey coach Ben Smith (Gloucester) and 18-year NHL head coach Ron Wilson.
Young played for Parker at BU before going to the NHL for a 17-year career that included Stanley Cup wins with Pittsburgh (1991) and Colorado (1996). Young would later serve Parker’s successor Dave Quinn as director of hockey operations and assistant coach.
“Jack was a great motivator and I listened so I didn’t get his wrath much,” Young said. “I was a very disciplined player and I didn’t want him screaming at me.
“He was fun to play for.”
Smith began his college coaching career at Yale before joining Parker’s staff.
“I used to say I got my masters at Yale and my doctorate at BU,” Smith said. “Not only did he…