For over half a century Sherman “Whip” Saltmarsh has been in the stands cheering on his Boston College Eagles.
And on Monday night, Saltmarsh will be there again, supporting his alma mater, as the Eagles’ hockey team takes the ice against Boston University. The Eagles will be attempting to win their 17th Beanpot hockey tournament.
The tournament, which is celebrating its 60th year this season, pits four Boston-area hockey teams – Boston University, Boston College, Harvard University and Northeastern University – against one another in a round-robin tournament.
Saltmarsh hasn’t missed a tournament yet. But it was that first one that the former Winchester State Rep. and long-time Winchester resident remembers.
“It was real exciting,” Saltmarsh said of that first tournament. “It was something that was never done before.”
Saltmarsh was a senior in 1952, playing right wing for the Eagles, when it was announced that the four Boston schools would be playing a hockey tournament right after Christmas.
“That first one was real nice,” Saltmarsh said. “I didn’t know it was going to grow into what it is today. But all us players knew each other and it was fun to play in a tournament with kids you grew up playing with.”
Boston College lost its first game that year to Harvard, 3-2 in overtime, before beating Northeastern, 2-0.
“I played pretty well,” said Saltmarsh who recorded an assist in the tournament. “We did play Harvard again later in the season and we beat them that time – 6-1.”
Even though Saltmarsh still enjoys the games and rooting on his Eagles, he enjoys other aspects of the tournament.
“I like it more now,” Saltmarsh said. “It’s not just a tournament or a hockey game. It’s gotten to be a social event, where everyone can go and have a good time. I made a lot of friendships thanks to that tournament.
“I hope I’m there in 10 years so I can see the 70th anniversary.”
Well, Saltmarsh will be at TD Garden Monday night to see his alma mater attempt to win its third straight title over rival Boston University.