When Is The Beanpot Hockey Tournament? [Expert Review!]

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The Beanpot Hockey Tournament is one of the Boston-area’s most exciting sporting events, one that pits 16 college hockey teams against each other in a battle for supremacy. It’s unique blend of competitive and comical elements has made it an event not to be missed.

Traditionally, the Beanpot tournament takes place in mid-January, which means you have to wait until then to see which teams are going to advance to the next round. Fortunately, thanks to the internet and the determination of ESPN’s crew of hockey madmen, we know all the information we need to know about the tournament.

The Basics

The Beanpot Hockey Tournament is the brainchild of Jack Beattie, who conceived of the competition in 1969 and named it after the Boston area coffee shop of the same name. In its current iteration, the tournament features 16 teams from the Massachusetts and Maine hockey leagues. The competition is open to all college campuses, and any NCAA Division I, II, or III program is eligible to participate. Teams are seeded according to their standings in the previous season, and the higher-seeded team is placed in the better position. The winner of the tournament is awarded a coveted silver chalice.

The competition consists of two 15-minute periods, with a short break in between. The first period is a traditional faceoff-style battle between the two teams, while the second is a 5-on-5 exhibition game that pits the teams’ top stars against each other. Following the two periods, the teams that are still competing are determined by who has the most shots on target. The match then enters a five-minute overtime period, where the teams trade goals and the action is anything but conventional.

One of the appealing aspects of the Beanpot is its unpredictability. No two games are ever the same, and that’s part of what keeps it interesting for the participants and fans alike. The fact that the tournament is open to all teams in the area makes it even more intriguing, with the potential for upsets happening any given year. What might surprise you is how competitive the event can be, with many games going to tiebreakers before the exciting finishes that make the tournament so unique.

The Scheduling Is Confusing

One of the most confusing parts of the Beanpot is the scheduling, as a lot can change from one year to the next without notice. What might be the case this year could be completely different from how it was a few years ago, as collegiate hockey seasons often come with a bit of a fluidity to them. The following is a list of what to expect in terms of the Beanpot’s scheduling from one year to the next:

  • Regular Season – Team will play four to five games per week, totaling between 40 and 45 games (depending on if season is split into two or three parts).
  • Tournament – The regular season is followed by a month-long tournament that starts in mid-January and ends in late January or early February.
  • Intermission – There is no set break between periods in the Beanpot, which means games can continue even if the players have had enough. This can add an additional 10 to 15 minutes to a game. Furthermore, the second period is often more exciting than the first, as teams try to extend their leads rather than settle for a draw at the end of the first.
  • Overtime – There is no set number of minutes that a game of the Beanpot will go into overtime. However, after the two 15-minute periods, teams will continue to trade goals and push the action into extra time.
  • Blizzard Cup – The winner of the Beanpot is also named the Blizzard Cup champion, an annual event that pits the schools against each other in an indoor soccer-type game. The first edition of the tournament was played in early January 1991, with Boston University coming out on top after a 3-2 match victory.

The following is a list of the typical venues for the Beanpot:

  • Amistad Stadium – UMass Amherst
  • Brighton High School – Brighton, MA
  • Duquesne University – Pittsburgh, PA
  • Harvard University – Cambridge, MA
  • Harvard University – Cambridge, MA
  • Merrimack College – North Andover, MA
  • Mount Holyoke College – South Hadley, MA
  • Quinnipiac University – Morristown, NY
  • Rutgers University – Piscataway, NJ
  • Skidmore College – Saratoga Springs, NY

While the Beanpot is played outdoors, the games are actually held indoors and the action is fairly clinical, with officials monitoring the ball and player’s equipment closely. The majority of the games are played on natural ice and sometimes in below-freezing temperatures, making this year’s edition a real test for the outdoor hockey community. One of the reasons for this is the increased pace of the game, which is one of the appeals of the event. Indoor games are typically faster than outdoors, and the intensity can be greater as well, with fights frequently breaking out in the middle of games.

The Stadium Is Family-Friendly

One particularly appealing aspect of the Beanpot is that tickets are very affordable and are sold through a box office, rather than the teams directly. This means that children are welcome, with discounted tickets available for those under 12 years of age. Families are often looking for things to do in the Boston area, especially during the winter months, and the Beanpot is a valuable option for those who want to enjoy a night out in a great atmosphere. The fact that it provides a memorable experience for the whole family is a big draw for prospective attendees. Families can bring their kids, who will almost certainly have a blast playing in the tournament, especially if they are young enough to still be interested in ice cream and cartoons!

The standard dimensions for the rink at the Beanpot are 200 feet by 85 feet, with 20 feet of clearance around all sides. Ample parking is available, with a capacity of over 300 vehicles. The venue serves as one of the staples of the Boston area sports scene, drawing large audiences on game nights. The standard NHL ice hockey game at the time of this writing is 3 hours and 15 minutes, with the final period being an exciting extra hour, making the total game length 5 hours and 45 minutes. This makes the Beanpot a great option for fans who want to see an early finish, or for those who want to be one of the first in line at the concession stand for those delicious hot dogs and nachos!

The excitement, competitiveness, and unique atmosphere of the Beanpot make it one of the best college hockey tournaments in the country. The unpredictability of the format makes it interesting to follow, as well as make predictions about, and there’s always the potential for an upset or two, which makes it worth the gamble to attend.

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