College hockey will probably never get the exposure that its football and basketball counterparts receive, but don't underestimate the huge publicity that BC is receiving because of its latest championship. I was checking into the airport in Austin yesterday and the attendant behind the counter saw my BC hat and congratulated me on the win and Texas isn't exactly a hotbed of college hockey fans. Grantland did a fantastic feature on Jerry York and the Frozen Four in general, and obviously there was the TV coverage of the event nationally as well as pretty extensive local coverage.
All of this PR will help the university attract more applications, and hopefully help achieve a more competitive incoming freshman class. I'm not pretending that college hockey is on the same level as basketball or football (in fact, this win will likely not help BC as much as Matt Ryan did in 2007), and I am not saying that high school kids are going to flock to BC simply because of the hockey team. But what exposure like this can do is get high school students to think about BC, and to pick up the computer and see what resources BC can open to its students. Hockey might be just a minor factor in deciding where to apply at the end of the day, but anything that gives the university an opportunity to make its sales pitch to students will ultimately help the university in the long run.
Again, I'm not saying that hockey is the only reason for this, but look at our enrollment statistics from Minnesota, the heart of hockey country; 1980-27, 1985-38, 1990-77, 1995-71, 2000-110, 2005-116, 2010-151, 2011-154. There is definitely a jump between 2005 and 2010 that can't be totally ignored.
The exposure the team has been receiving is even more sweet given the class that Jerry York and the program have shown over the years. We're not just going to attract kids who watch to watch great hockey similar to what Kentucky is doing with basketball. We're also attracting kids who want to go to a high-character institution, a place where character is on display from the top down. How many college dynasties don't end in scandal these days? The final chapter isn't written on the York dynasty yet, but I'd be willing to bet that it ends with him gracefully riding off into the sunset, double windsor knot intact.
If you have time: What first attracted you to Boston College?
And for those not in the Massachusetts-New York area: How did you first hear about Boston College?