Opening Night of McArthur Cup Steals Show as HBS Hockey Downs Wharton, Tuck

Dean McArthur (right) performs the ceremonial puck drop

The 2012 McArthur Cup had it all: Canadians, beer, pizza, visiting professors, penalties, and, of course, plenty of glorious MBA hockey. Twelve teams representing ten graduate schools from across North America participated in over 18 games between Friday and Saturday. But, it was opening night that stole the show, with both HBS Blades teams winning their games in front of hundreds of rabid HBS fans.

All of the lights

The tournament kicked off officially with a level of ceremony previously unknown to Bright Hockey Center, as the Blades’ A team was introduced one-by-one before enjoying stirring renditions of “Oh, Canada!” and the Star Spangled Banner. Bunsho Kure (NB) stole the show during the introductions by honoring his Japanese heritage with a crisp and graceful bow to his adoring fans.

Immediately following the national anthems, outgoing SA Co-president Jon Dick introduced Dean John H. McArthur, the namesake of the tournament. Dean McArthur, whose career in academia has included a successful term as Dean of HBS and a Senior Advisory role to the President of the World Bank, is also a Harvard Hockey season ticket holder. The Blades and fans in attendance showed respect and gratefulness for Dean McArthur as he conducted the ceremonial puck-drop.

Fan-demonium

For many HBS Blades, the night represented the most positive attention they would ever receive while wearing hockey gear (in proper settings). A raucous crowd of over 400 HBS students and partners packed into the western stands of the rink, having fueled themselves with Narragansett beer and Domino’s Pizza at the unlimited consumption pre-game tailgate. “If only [HBS Alumnus Dan] Monahan could see us now,” exclaimed B team captain Tim “Ovie” Down (OF Partner), as he gazed excitedly into the stands.

The fans did not disappoint in sheer number or in energy, seizing their first and only opportunity all year to cheer on a HBS athletic team.

Memorable fan participation included mis-pronounced chants for future Co-Captain Steve Bruch (NF), fake beards for hairy future Co-Captain Teddy Chestnut (NC), and even a sign encouraging Chad Royer (OE) to “Fight, Chad, Fight,” alluding to a successful bout last year.

Also overheard were bewildering, likely tailgate-inspired chants such as “We accept Crimson Cash” and “H-A-R, V-A-D, what’s that spell, Havarti.”

Hockey was also played

The A-division game was one-sided, as the discombobulated Wharton team seemed never to recover from the brutal assault of Crimson-centric pageantry to start the game. HBS quickly piled goals on using crisp passing through the neutral zone and lethal finishing, racing to a 5-0 lead.

The Blades found themselves getting complacent in the 2nd period, however, and a constant stream of players to the penalty box allowed Wharton to wrestle some momentum back by scoring two goals.

Eventually, the home crowd’s energy was too much to match, and the Blades cruised to a 6-3 finish. Tim Downs (OF Partner) probably had 2 or 3 secondary assists.

In the second HBS game of the evening, the B team took on a highly skilled Tuck B team with a short bench. A quick goal from Mike Diverio gave the Blades a 1-0 lead, but the rest of the day would be a battle. Downs and Chestnut served double-duty, playing for both A and B teams, while Eric Allen (NH Partner) served double-duty in an innovative fashion, playing both defense and right wing simultaneously.

After enduring a grueling 2nd period, and atrocious scorekeeping by outgoing Blades Co-presidents Dustin Mann and Mike Kenworthy (OI), the Blades took a 3-2 lead into the final two minutes, only to see a fluke goal from a sharp angle bank in off Harvard Grad keeper Adrian Podpirka’s pads and into the goal.

A dramatic shootout ensued, with ironman Teddy Chestnut, in his second game of the night, scoring the final goal, and Podpirka stoning the opposition to seal the victory.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Sadly, after finding round-robin success, neither HBS team was able to bring home the championship in their division. The A team won their morning game to reach the semifinals, where they lost in heartbreaking fashion to Tuck by a score of 5-4 after leading 4-3 with 3 minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, the B team cruised to a 7-5 victory over Harvard Med/Law, once again driving home the point that there is only one “right” choice for grad schools. The Baby Blades found themselves in the B division final, where they faced and were soundly defeated by a superior Suffolk team.

Both team packed up their gear and trod home lamenting what could have been. The RCs look ahead to next year, where they hope to achieve victory at Tuck, Ivey, and McArthur Cup tournaments. The entire team thanks those in attendance for their outstanding energy and support. And if the reader ever finds him or herself in London, Ontario, the team cordially invites you to dine with them at the Beef Baron.