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Two Minutes’ Hate: I hope you had the time of your life

March 23, 2013

Jack Parker always has to have his way. From the beginning of Hockey East unto the end of his career, the league’s chief villain has done all in his power to have it both ways, and at no point has this ever been more self-evident than when he said this during the press conference at which he announced his retirement:

“I didn’t want to go through a farewell tour of the other rinks in the league. At the same time, I didn’t want to wait until the end of the year when all the games were over.”

If speaking out both sides of your mouth were considered an art form, Parker would be Degas, Picasso, Hemingway, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Faulkner, and, just to mix in the appropriate amount of terror to the mix, Poe, all rolled into one enabling, foul master whose career is as marked by his reputation for throwing temper tantrums as it is winning.

Parker says didn’t want a farewell tour, but egomaniac that he is, he certainly wanted a couple weeks at least worth of weepy retrospectives on his career, and for the media to bring up constantly how much he has meant to college hockey in New England. Isn’t he great? Isn’t it sad that he’s going? Isn’t he so noble for not wanting to give a farewell tour? Of course, that all ignores that this is the second week running of the Jackie Parker Memorial Good Coach Better Guy Fun Times Career Retrospective Handshake Smile Tour 2013, because if anyone in the media ever actually took the time to start pointing out the all sanctimony laid down by the long-time coach, the backlog alone would keep them busy until BU’s next coach calls it a career.

Therefore, we’re not going to start an archaeological expedition to find the Holy Grail that is the source of all Parker’s duplicitous two-facedness, because frankly we don’t have the time, and more specifically the inclination to delve into a cave so deep, dark, and full of people crying with joy over how good John Gibson was. So let’s just start with the most obvious stuff and work our way down to a middle-depth circle of hypocrisy.

The first and most obvious difference between what Parker preached as being one of the things destroying the very fabric of college hockey itself, while also demanding that his players practice it at every turn is clearly diving. Earlier this season, he said Maine and BC were guilty of this vile crime, doing all in their power to gain a competitive edge in a league game — also known as “Pulling a Parker” — and in doing so caused much discussion among the braying asses in the college hockey media about just how much this was really affecting the outcomes that should so clearly be going the Terriers’ way. Then, in the very next game, BU goaltender Matt O’Connor got busted for embellishment. The one after that, Evan Rodrigues got rung up for the same thing. Parker had shockingly little to say on the subject of his own charges breaking the rules he thinks should be applied the rest of the league, but perhaps that’s to be expected.

Then there’s the fact that Parker has always said that the NCAA’s insistence on players wearing full visors has made the game too dangerous, because guys get brave where they otherwise might not be. In essence, this means it allows for too many dirty players to run around and try to seriously injure people, and we agree that it’s a problem. Of course, BU is as guilty of this type of garbage as even the worst offenders in the league, because for every Joey Diamond there’s a Brandon Yip, and for every Kyle Bigos there’s an Eric Gryba, and for every Garrett Noonan there’s an Alexx Privatera. BU, and Parker specifically, has never had a problem trying to take liberties with other players, which speaks to why BU has so consistently finished in the top two among Hockey East in penalty minutes (five of the last six seasons), including the Terriers leading the pack this year.

And what of his continual insistence that the integrity of Hockey East is being threatened by overaged players joining teams after they are able to drink legally, not that this ever stopped a BU player from getting served somewhere on campus, wink wink? As Parker pointed out in his final press conference, there are a lot of 21- and 22-year-old freshmen and 25- and 26-year-old seniors in the league, guys like Matt O’Connor and Kevin Gilroy and Ryan Ruikka and Chris Connolly and most famously Matt Gilroy just to pick some random examples from the last few seasons. Guys like that really are tearing down everything that makes this league great, and their coaches really need to stop allowing them to play. If only there was something Parker could have done about it.

Parker was also famous for ripping his team when it played badly, which is an admirable trait, but you would never once hear from him that another team played well enough to beat him. In his sick and twisted version of the universe, he would be undefeated for his entire career if only his players would just do exactly as he said. And while he was certainly accustomed to paying lip service to the quality jobs other teams did in defeating him, he was just as quick on the trigger when taking it away, allowing for a career total of zero credit to be given to anyone but himself. The average Parker post-loss presser goes something like, “We really thought they did a good job of breaking down our defense but if the ref hadn’t let them stand in the crease and dive all over the place, and we hadn’t been hit with so many penalties, and the ice had been a little better, and the nets we shot at had been a little bigger than regulation size, and the Gatorade not as watered-down as it was, and the traffic on the way to the rink been a little better, and my morning coffee not spit in by the jealous Northeastern alum behind the counter at Dunkin’ Donuts, I think we would have had a pretty good chance to win.” With this in mind, we can only assume that the fact that they named the ice surface at Agganis Arena “Jack Parker Rink” without adding the words “Poor Sportsmanship” or “Entitlement” to it was some sort of supervisory oversight, but there’s a lot of that at BU in general.

Of course, each of the instances of Parker being totally full of it — the diving and the dirty play and the older players and the assumed privilege — lead back to the singular thing for which will be known for long after he’s finished darkening every rink in Hockey East: trying to work the refs like marionettes. There’s a reason every fan in the league has chanted “We hate Parker” at some point in their lives, and it’s not because he’s great at his job. None but the dumbest fanboys in this league — primarily those located within the vile confines of Agganis Arena — would ever, for example, breathe a bad word about Jerry York or Norm Bazin, though both are coaching geniuses who have wrapped themselves in glory. People can’t stand Parker because of all the theatrics. The wild gesticulating on the bench whenever a call goes against BU, or, more specifically, against the way in which Parker has decided it should go. York has never in his life publicly dressed down an official, nor has Bazin, because they are respectful gentlemen and true ambassadors of the game. While there is certainly something to be said for being cutthroat in one’s approach to the game, and winning at all costs, Parker takes the practice to its logical extreme: throwing blue-faced temper tantrums like a child in the middle of Toys’R’Us being told he cannot have two Ninja Turtles, and has to choose between Raphael and Splinter.

Worse, though — and this speaks to the inherent malfeasance that Hockey East carries right to its very core — is that he’s allowed to get away with all of it. Though every right-thinking member of Hockey East’s fourth estate has known for years what a demonstrably insincere moralist Parker has been, not one thought to bring that up in the last few weeks, because they, like the rest of the league, live in constant fear of invoking his wrath, and that of his dead-eyed acolytes. It’s appropriate, therefore, that his last game in Hockey East ever (unless he changes his mind about retirement, which is completely within the realm of possibility) is an encore of perhaps his greatest masterpiece.

All the evidence one ever needs when trying to point to the fact that Parker has had every official in this league in his back pocket for decades is encapsulated in Lowell’s Non-Goal in the 2009 Hockey East title game. A clearer sign of corruption has never existed in NCAA hockey, as the league magically came up without access to audio in what everyone in the known universe not wearing scarlet and white acknowledged as a goal so obvious that efforts to screw Lowell in this manner were as baffling as they were infuriating. The only way to explain it, therefore, is, “Old Man Parker with his finger on the button, calling in a favor.” Period.

It is for this reason specifically, but not solely, that we cannot wait to see Lowell win tonight. The only thing better than being the team to end Joey Diamond’s career is being the team to end Jack Parker’s career, and tonight is Lowell’s chance to put it him the dustpan. It already got the broom out earlier this season.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Brendan permalink
    March 23, 2013 6:32 pm

    Bye, Jack! Ha ha ha ha ha!

  2. John Wayne Swayze permalink
    March 23, 2013 9:14 pm

    Thank you for being the only column willing to be honest about Jack Parker.

  3. JBB permalink
    March 25, 2013 11:30 am

    He took his last interview and complained about the NCAA format most of the time. Providence coach didn’t do that, he congratulated Lowell and moved on (and if anyone deserved a shot at the NCAA, Providence should be in it before BU). John Gillies had congratulations ready for UML and Hellebuyck. Providence seems like a tough team to really hate, BU and Parker are very easy.

    And really, a diving call in the championship game? Glad to see Parker gone from what I know of him.

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