Boston College men’s hockey coach Jerry York was formally inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in a ceremony Monday night in Toronto.
York, the all-time winningest coach in college hockey, was inducted into the Builders category.
“I’m just in my 26th year at BC,’’ York said during his speech. “I think of Brian Gionta and Johny Gaudreau . . . so I just love coaching, but I love the people we coach. We’re not coaching pucks, and we’re not coaching against this person or that. We’re coaching people, and I’ve had some great experiences with them.’’
York was joined by Penguins executive Jim Rutherford in the Builders category.
Guy Carbonneau, a three-time Selke winner for the Canadiens, was among eight inductees into the Hall of Fame. Vaclav Nedomansky, Sergei Zubov, Hayley Wickenheiser, journalist Frank Brown, and play-by-play man Jim Hughson were also inducted.
York spoke about the importance of gratitude in his speech, and began by thanking his family.
“I’d like to take this special opportunity to thank my wife Bobbie, 49 years and counting. I think it’s going to last,’’ York joked. “She’s been the general manager from Potsdam to Bowling Green to Boston College.’’
York leads the all-time list of Division 1 coaches with 1,074 wins and counting. He has spent the last 25 seasons at BC, leading the Eagles to four NCAA titles, 12 Frozen Fours and nine Hockey East Tournament championships.
Among those in attendance were 12 of York’s former assistant coaches.
“People have always asked me, ‘What’s your greatest attribute as as coach? Is it x’s and o’s?’ It’s just picking the right people to be an assistant coach,’’ said York. “I’ve had a great string of success with my assistant coaches.’’
Among those singled out were two of his longtime BC assistants, Mike Cavanaugh, now the head coach for UConn, and Greg Brown, now in his second season as an assistant with the New York Rangers.
York became the fifth college coach to be inducted, but the only one who never coached in the NHL. As part of his speech, he paid tribute to some of his rivals in the NCAA ranks, beginning with his time at Bowling Green.
“I really had some great experiences and great challenges,’’ said York. “When I was out west it was always Ron Mason at Michigan State, it was Red Berenson at Michigan. We’d go at each other, and we all had good teams. I learned from those coaches. Coming back east, Dicki Umile at New Hampshire was a guy that I had to go head-to-head with. Very innovative, very competitive with me.’’
York saved his biggest rival for last, longtime Boston University coach Jack Parker, whom he coached against for 40 years. The last 19 of those years came with York behind the BC bench. He compared the BU-BC rivalry to some of the historic NHL battles from the Original Six, citing the Red Wings vs. the Maple Leafs, and the Bruins vs. the Canadiens.
“That brought the best out of both of us. You’ve got to have rivals,’’ said York. “Wherever you are, you need one team to really push you. I thought with Jack and myself, probably after 40 years, it was dead-even, and he was a terrific competitor for us.’’