The first Beanpot tournament took place the weekend after Christmas in December 1952. At the time it was called the New England Invitational Tournament and included the same four Boston-based teams that participate today. The single-elimination men’s tournament is now split between the first two Mondays in February and is a spectacle of Boston college hockey. All four teams have had success within the tournament but one of them took a little bit longer than the others to capture its first Beanpot trophy.
Heading into the 1980 Beanpot, Northeastern had a record of just 3-11-0. However, the team had impressively beaten Maine 9-3 in the game leading up to the tournament. The previous Beanpot in 1979 saw the Huskies win the consolation game against Harvard 5-4. At the time, Northeastern had yet to capture the Beanpot trophy. The three other teams had their time in the spotlight. Harvard won the inaugural tournament in 1952. Boston College won the next Beanpot that took place in 1954. Boston University won its first Beanpot trophy in 1958. Northeastern had only participated in the championship game twice before 1980 and had finished last in the tournament 18 times. The team was due.
The schedule for the opening round included Northeastern versus Boston University and Harvard versus Boston College. The first game on Monday, February 4 went into overtime. Northeastern found the back of the net in the extra frame and defeated Boston University 6-5. The second game of the day saw Boston College defeat Harvard 4-3 setting up the Huskies and the Eagles in the championship game February 11 to see who the kings of college hockey in Boston would be.
The championship game took place after Harvard downed Boston University 7-4 in the consolation game. Boston College came into the Beanpot with a 17-4-1 record and was two seasons removed from a national runner-up finish. The title game was one for the ages as it went to overtime to determine the champion. It didn’t take long. At two minutes and 47 seconds into overtime, Wayne Turner scored for the Huskies to clinch Northeastern’s first Beanpot championship with a 5-4 victory. The program’s first Beanpot title in the 28th tournament caused some people to call it the most memorable moment in the history of Northeastern sports. The game was only one of seven losses throughout the season for Boston College.
Fast forward to 2022 and the script has been flipped. There was no Beanpot played in 2021 marking it as the first calendar year where the tournament didn’t take place since 1953. However, Northeastern is the reigning champions. In fact, the Huskies are the reigning three-peat champions having won in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Northeastern is still fourth in terms of the number of first place Beanpot finishes with seven. But the Huskies are narrowing the gap. The opening game of the 2022 tournament will see Boston University face Harvard February 7. The nightcap is a rematch of the 1980 Beanpot championship game when Boston College and Northeastern go toe to toe.
To read additional detail about Beanpot history, view our historical write up that covered U.S. college hockey in the 1950s.
In the featured photo, Wayne Turner celebrates his Beanpot-clinching goal in overtime of the 1980 Beanpot championship game. This historic goal for the program earned him the nickname Wayne “Beanpot” Turner.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jet Commercial Photographers, Northeastern University Photograph collection, at the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.