Jerry York’s passion for hockey and for Boston College took root early.
At Victory Field in his beloved Watertown, Mass., in the 1950s, the city would open a fire hydrant and flood the tennis courts so youngsters like York had a place to skate.
“You had to dodge (the posts that held up the tennis nets), but it was great ice,’’ York said.
The eighth of 10 children, York’s earliest hockey heroes played for the Boston Bruins and for BC.
“I loved Bronco Horvath, the way he handled the puck and made plays. That was someone I aspired to be,’’ York said of the former Bruins star. “As I got older, it was Billy Daley and Red Martin at Boston College. I used to watch all the BC games.’’
And so began a remarkable life centered around hockey.
On April 13, when the 76-year-old York stepped down after 28 years at Boston College, he held every coaching record worth having. He spent 50 consecutive years as a head coach, won a record 1,123 games and five national championships. He’s a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Along the way he earned the respect and admiration of nearly everyone he encountered.
“He’s one of the finest human beings I’ve ever been around in my entire life,’’ said former BC athletic director Pat Kraft. “I believe he’s the greatest coach in the history of college sports.’’