“We loved it there,’’ said Tom. “We went back because when we were first there, the Berlin Wall was up. The city itself went through a major transformation.
“We were back here for four or five years and we wanted to get the kids back at an earlier age to give them an appreciation for where they were born. They were probably 5, 7, and 9 at that point.”
He is excited about Danny playing for the Terriers.
“I think it’s a great program, it’s something I’ve been part of for 35 years,’’ said Tom. “For our family, it’s very special to watch him play there and play for Coach Parker and take part in the pride and the tradition the program offers and be going to the Hockey East [tournament].’’
When asked if Parker has changed over the years, Tom chuckled.
“Jack coached me when he was in his mid 30s,’’ he said. “Jack has changed and the game has changed — everything has changed since the late 1970s.
“I think the key to his success throughout all those changes is he has been adaptable. He has adjusted to the changes in the game very well and he’s surrounded himself with some great associate coaches and assistant coaches.
“He’s a tremendous coach but he has always maintained that competitive edge and passion for the game and that same fiery personality. Although he has gotten a bit older, he hasn’t lost his passion for the kids and his passion for the game.’’
Peaking at right time?
Despite being around the BU program for most of his life, Danny knew it would be a challenge to compete for a spot on the team. But he impressed coaches and teammates early on.
“Coming in, I didn’t really know what to expect playing-wise,’’ he said. “Personally, I was happy enough to land on the top two lines and play with Nieto and Rodrigues for most of the year, which was a lot of fun.
“As a team, it was kind of an up-and-down, roller coaster year. I think we’re really looking good right now. The team is really coming together at the end of the year. Hopefully we will continue this season for a few more weeks.’’
He credits his father with helping prepare him for the transition.
“He’s been everything really, hockey-related,’’ said Danny. “I’ve looked up to him my whole life and I strive to do what he did and hopefully make it. After every game, he always has some feedback.
“But he’s never been a crazy hockey dad. He’s down to earth. He always says we’re pretty similar, which is perfect because that’s what I am kind of going for.’’
Given that this is Parker’s last year as coach, O’Regan hopes he and his teammates can keep their run going.
“It’s definitely cool to be able to play for Coach Parker, having had my dad play for him,’’ he said. “He’s not going to be here next year but I’m happy I got to play for him for one year because I think he’s the best coach.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.