Monarchs' Meyer recalls days with Parker at BU
Manchester Monarchs first-year assistant coach Freddy Meyer, a former four-year standout at Boston University, continues to appreciate the genius of Jack Parker.
The legendary BU hockey coach, who has won 894 games and three national titles, used to "butt heads" with Meyer during games and practice. The Sanbornville product didn't realize it at the time - but Parker was most always right.
"Now that I'm a coach here in Manchester, you see there is a grand scheme of things. When you turn back the clock, you realize there was a purpose to what Jack was doing," said Meyer, a former defenseman who played 281 games in the National Hockey League. "We had run-ins all the time. Sometimes I'd jump into a play and try to create more offense. There were times he'd tell me I should be staying back or passing more, and we'd butt heads."
Parker will retire at the end of this season, his 40th, an announcement that was made official at BU's Agganis Arena on Monday afternoon.
"It has been a great run. I had a great time doing it," Parker said. "I always talk about BU being a family. I've got two daughters and 226 sons and the team that I have here right now are my youngest sons. And I'm not going to have any more children."
Meyer, 32, graduated from BU in 2003 and played for the Flyers, Islanders, Coyotes and Thrashers before spending the 2011-12 season playing professionally in Sweden. He also logged 137 games in the American Hockey League, winning a championship with the Philadelphia Phantoms.
The transition to coaching, thanks to Parker, has been as smooth as Meyer's skating ability. He needn't travel the world playing hockey to learn the biggest lesson on coaching.
"He's demanding. That's the word I keep coming back to," Meyer said. "During the preseason and season, there were some hard days and some dark days, but you end up having a ton of respect for him. You have to put in a lot of work for him, but there was always a grand picture of what he wanted from the team. He's been a winner year in and year out, and he's been doing it for 40 years. It's a sad day at BU, but he's had a great career."
As a teenager, Meyer played at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan before joining the U.S. National developmental program in Ann Arbor, Mich. When deciding on where to play in college, his top three choices were BU, Maine and the University of New Hampshire. He remembers when Parker made a visit to the Meyer home in Sanbornville.
"He's a charismatic guy," Meyer said. "He has a way of lightening the mood and making you feel comfortable."