One of the best parts of sports are the iconic, unlikely, and exciting pieces of history they create. A lot of these great sports moments have blessed Providence College within the last decade alone. With a plethora of iconic memories to choose from, it is difficult to pick just one. However, for me, it has to be the 2015 Men’s Hockey National Championship.
Hockey has been a staple of this school and the New England area for a very long time. It was not until recently that the men’s hockey team became a competitive force to be reckoned with in the NCAA. Led by head coach Nate Leaman, at the time in his fifth year with the team, the 2015 Friars won 26 games. That was their best mark since the 1980’s. This, along with a second-place finish in the Hockey East conference set them up nicely for the tournament and a chance to reclaim glory for PC hockey.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. The Friars suffered a quarterfinal upset to the University of New Hampshire and crossed their fingers. Eventually, they did secure one of the last tournament spots and started their improbable run that included beating 4-seed Miami University, the University of Denver, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
The Friars faced off against the Boston University Terriers on April 11, 2015 at the TD Garden in Boston, MA. Slated to win, the Terriers went into the second half of the third period with a 3-2 lead against the Friars. However, in the final minutes of the game, PC scored two unanswered goals to not only win the game, but also to secure the program’s first ever NCAA win in hockey.
The team was packed with several great players who would eventually move on to the NHL. Players like Noel Acciari ’15, Brandon Tanec ’16, and Mark Jankowski ’16 were key players that pushed the Friars to the title. Acciari was tied for the team lead in goals while Jankowski was second on the team in assists.
The win managed to pull the Friars not just back to relevancy, but to the top of the nation as the team still remains one of the biggest powerhouses of hockey to this day. This championship was an incredible feat for the school as well as a turning point for the program as it allowed the team to consistently compete at this level in the years to come and set them up with great, national recognition.
– Joseph Quirk ’23
One of the best Providence College sports moments of the decade occurred off the court: the 2016 NBA Draft. Indeed, this event was made so special because point guard and Friar Legend, Kris Dunn ’16, was drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Being selected to play professionally in the NBA is already an accomplishment in itself. However, being selected in the first round, and in the top five especially, is a shining moment in a decade of PC success.
Dunn was among All-NBA talent, like Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, and Jaylen Brown. This gives a better picture of just how special this moment was. Indeed, it cemented him as one of the top talents not only from the collegiate level, but also from around the world.
The talented Friar point guard did not get drafted as high as he did for just any reason. His college career featured a wealth of highlights and notable awards including being named a Second-Team All-American in 2016, receiving Big East Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and a two-time First-Team All-Big East in 2015 and 2016. Dunn was also a two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and finally, was a Big East Tournament champion in 2014.
Even with all the statistics and accolades received throughout his tenure at PC, Dunn never let personal achievement get in the way of the success of the team. He was renowned for always putting in 110% in every game and against every team he faced. This is best shown in the win over a challenging University of Southern California team in the 2016 March Madness Tournament.
As brilliant as the 2016 draft was, Dunn struggled in his rookie season for the Timberwolves. Dunn, in 78 games played, averaged 3.8 points and 2.4 assists per game.
Currently, Dunn, in his fourth season in the NBA and third with the Chicago Bulls, is averaging 7.2 points, 3.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game. He is in second place in the league for total steals, and has been hot on the tail of league-leader Ben Simmons for the entire season.
Truly, college basketball players work hard to achieve their dream of making it to the professionals, going out every night to play the game they love. This is why hearing one’s name called on the stage is such a special moment for not only the player, but also for the school they represent. It exemplifies the hard work put in to get to that point, and the support the school provided along the way.
Dunn was able to use the knowledge he had gained from PC to achieve the greatest accomplishment for a basketball player: getting drafted. His recent success on the biggest stage makes it one of the best moments of the decade for PC athletics.
– Sullivan Burgess ’20