Saturday, April 21, 2007

They’re gonna put me in the movies

Today, we examine BU hockey connections with movies, which goes back nearly 40 years. And it's spiked with some "six degrees of..." action, just for fun.

In 1970, Terrier All-American Mike "Cannon" Hyndman played Francois Lafleur, the Cornell skater who puts a mouse under Ryan O’Neal’s eye in “Love. Story.” Hyndman related the story that O'Neal could barely stand on his skates, so Mike had to hold him up by the back of his pants, while punching him with the other hand. Besides Hyndman, another actor made his screen debut in this movie--'69 Harvard grad Tommy Lee Jones. Jones' college roommate was Al Gore whose wife, Tipper, graduated BU in 1970, the same class as Hyndman.

Another BU All-American, Steve Stirling, who currently coaches the Tampa AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons, was an extra in the hockey scenes in the 1977 sports classic, “‘Slap Shot,” which made cult figures of the “Hanson Brothers” (more about them later). Stirling, who also has coached the New York Islanders, reported that the film’s lead, Paul Newman, occasionally joined the extras for a game of shinny between scenes. Stirling's GM at Springfield is Bruce Landon, who played goalie for former Terrier coach Jack Kelley when he led the 1972-73 New England Whalers to the first WHA championship. Hyndman played 27 games for the Whalers that season.

Kelley’s son, David, who captained Princeton's hockey team, wrote and produced the enormously popular film “Mystery Alaska” in 2004.

Four Terriers--Mike Eruzione, Jack O'Callahan, Jim Craig and Dave Silk--were, of course, primary characters in 2004's "Miracle," which chronicled the gold-medal winning 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team. Former Terrier Bobby Hanson was cast in the role of Silk. Hanson, whose minor league hockey career included a stint with the now-defunct Macon Whoopees, is married to former UNH field hockey player Nikki Pandolfo, first cousin to Jay Pandolfo and Mike Pandolfo.

Current Terrier Brian Strait appeared in a USA Hockey skills video released this past fall.

And now, we have “Clark, the Canadian Goalie,” a six-minute video brought to our attention by blog contributor Scarlet. Starring former Terrier forward Nick Vachon, this tongue-in-cheek short –with unknown date of production— follows Clark as he transitions from stopping pucks to a new career as a baseball shortstop.

Vachon played 24 games for BU in the 90-91, and 91-92 seasons, scoring 6-8-14. His biggest goal may have been one scored in BU's 5-4 win over Maine early in his sophomore year. [Note--Mike Prendergast scored the game-winner shorthanded in the final 30 seconds; credit to blog contributor defkit] He later played one NHL game for the Islanders in the 1996-97 season after having been acquired from the L.A. Kings in a trade for Hobey Baker winner Chris Marinucci [credit to Ed Moller]. Vachon currently is an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, whose outstanding defenseman Max Nicastro (scroll down) is BU's first 2009 recruit.


Defkit said...

One correction - the minor league team in Macon was known as the Whoopee, not the Whoppees. As in "makin' whoopee" (good oldie song that makes an appearance in Sleepless in Seattle). Without a doubt, the best team name in all of sports.

Terrier Blogger said...

Thanks for the catch, defkit. Was the Whoopee gone when you played for the Univ. of Georgia club team?

Defkit said...

Not sure, but I think so.

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