Former-Black Bears To Play For Boston Teams
Jeremy Swayman became the ninth former-UMaine hockey player to suit up for the Bruins when he made his NHL debut Tuesday night with a stellar 40-save win.
That got me thinking. Who are the other former-Black Bears to turn out for Boston's pro teams? After many hours of research I've compiled the rest of the list, which includes eight Black Bears turned Bruins, four Black Bears turned Patriots and Red Sox and even the first-ever Black Bear to go pro in any sport, who played for the Boston Braves franchise in the 19th century.
Black Bears to play for the Boston Bruins:
- Bob Beers - Bruins Career: 1989-’92, ‘96-’97, 77 games, 3g/11a, 14pts
- Maine Career: 1986-’89 - Beers arrived in Orono from Northern Arizona University prior to the ‘86 season. The defenseman featured in 38 games his first year with the Black Bears and played in 123 games during his stay at Maine, tallying 64 points. Beers, who was drafted 210th overall in the 1985 NHL Draft, was named to the All-Hockey East 2nd Team in ‘88-’89 before taking his talent to the pros.
- Beers played in 50 games for the spoked B from ‘89-’92, then made stops in Tampa Bay, Edmonton and New York (Islanders) before returning to Boston to close his career with 27 additional appearances in the ‘96-’97 season. Beers final NHL numbers - 258 games played, 28 goals, 79 assists and 107 points.
- Jack Capuano - Bruins Career: Two games played during 1991-’92 season
- Maine Career: 1985-’88 - Capuano spent three seasons in Orono and appeared in 124 games in defense for the Black Bears. He totaled 121 points during his three-year stay and was named to the All-Hockey East 2nd Team in ‘86-’87 and the All-Hockey East 1st Team in ‘87-’88.
- Capuano featured in six NHL games for the Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks. Capuano spent seven seasons as the N.Y. Islanders head coach from 2010-’17 and amassed a career record of 227-192-64 while leading the Isles to three postseason appearances.
- Matt DelGuidice - 1990-’92, 11 games played
- Maine Career: 1988-’90 - DelGuidice began his college hockey career at D-III Saint Anselm before playing two seasons at Maine behind Scott King. The netminder went a very respectable 16-4 each season in Orono for a career record of 32-8 with a 3.15 goals against average. DelGuidice went 3-1 during the ‘89 Hockey East Playoffs and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
- The Connecticut-native turned pro in ‘90 with the Maine Mariners and appeared in one game with the Bruins in relief duty. DelGuidice began the ‘91-’92 season as the Bruins’ backup goalie and appeared in 10 games, going 2-5-1 in the limited action. DelGuidice bounced around between various minor leagues until ‘99 but would never appear in the NHL again.
- Peter Ferraro - Bruins Career: 1998-2000, 51 games, 6g/9a, 15pts
- Maine Career: 1992-’94 - Ferraro spent three seasons in the USHL before arriving on campus to be part of the greatest college hockey team to ever play. Many years, a 50-point scorer would lead the Black Bears’ offensive efforts. In ‘92-’93, Ferraro was just 6th on the team in points (50), while his 18 goals were just the 8th-best tally on the team. To put that number in perspective, just one Maine player (Blaine Byron, 18, 2016-17) has scored 18-or-more goals in the last nine seasons. In fact, he wasn’t even the highest scoring Ferraro on the 42-1-2 Black Bears. That honor went to twin brother Chris Ferraro, who scored 25 goals to go with 26 assists. To his credit, Peter did lead the ‘92-’93 squad in one category - penalty minutes (106).
- Peter played in four games for the Black Bears in ‘93-’94 before joining the U.S. National Team where he would score 64 points in 60 games. The Ferraro twins would eventually team back up on the ‘95-’96 New York Rangers, becoming just the second set of twins to play on the same NHL team. The majority of Ferraro’s NHL tenure came during the ‘98-’99 season with the Bruins when he featured in 46 games and tallied 14 points. The right winger played in 620 career AHL games, scoring almost 600 career points, but played in just 92 total NHL games and finished his career with nine goals and 15 assists to his credit.
- Ben Guite - Bruins Career: One game played during the 2005-’06 season
- Maine Career: 1996-2000 - Guite played in 146 games during his four years at Maine and was a member of the 1999 National Championship squad. The Montreal product scored 47 goals and added 49 assists as a Black Bear.
- Guite made his NHL debut on January 30, 2006 after parts of six seasons in the ECHL and AHL. For Guite’s Bruins’ career, that was the extent of it. He would go on to play 175 NHL games in total, with 19 goals and 26 assists. His best season came in ‘07-’08 as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, when he had 11g/11a in 79 games. Guite currently serves as the Associate Head Coach for Maine men’s hockey.
- Scott Pellerin - Bruins Career: 35 games played during the 2001-’02 season, 1g/5a, 6pts
- Maine Career: 1988-’92 - Pellerin had one of the most decorated careers in Black Bears’ hockey history during his 4-year stay at UMaine. Pellerin ranks second in program history with 223 career points and third in program history with 106 goals. An All-Hockey East Rookie Team selection his first year on campus, Pellerin would add to the trophy case in ‘91-’92 when he would be named an AHCA East 1st Team All American and eventually named the ‘92 Hobey Baker Award Winner, the first Black Bear to win the award (Paul Kariya would make it 2-in-a-row for Maine the next season).
- Pellerin appeared in 45 games as a rookie with the New Jersey Devils in ‘92-’93 and would play for seven teams (NJ, STL, MIN, CAR, BOS, DAL and PHX) over parts of 11 seasons. All told, Pellerin played in 536 NHL games, scoring 72 goals and tallying 126 assists. Boston was Pellerin’s fifth stop on his NHL journey, with the left winger appearing in 35 games during the first half of the ‘01-’02 season before being claimed off waivers by the Dallas Stars.
- Jean-Yves Roy - Bruins Career: 1996-’98, 54 games, 10g/15a, 25pts
- Maine Career: 1989-’92 - Roy burst onto the scene at UMaine in ‘89-’90 by scoring 39 goals to lead the Black Bears and was named to the All-Hockey East 1st Team. The Quebec-native followed that up with an 82-point sophomore campaign and was named an AHCA East 1st Team All American each of his final two years on campus. Roy scored 39, 37 and 32 goals, respectively, in his three years with the Black Bears and left town as the program’s all-time leading goal scorer. Roy ranks 5th on the UMaine all-time points list with 203 career points in 124 games played. Only Dave Capuano recorded more points (211) in fewer games played (122).
- Roy made his NHL debut in the ‘94-’95 season, playing in three games with the New York Rangers after entering the league as an undrafted free agent. His best season came with the Bruins in ‘96-’97 when he featured in 52 games and notched 10 goals and 15 assists. Roy appeared in two games for the B’s in ‘97-’98, bringing to a close his NHL career after 61 games, 12 goals and 28 points. He played professionally in Europe through the 2005-’06 season.
- Eric Weinrich - Bruins Career: 22 games played during the 2000-’01 season, 1g/5a, 6pts
- Maine Career: 1985-’88 - Though born in Roanoke, Virginia, Weinrich grew up in Gardiner, ME, and attended North Yarmouth Academy prior to arriving at UMaine. Weinrich played in 75 games between the 1985-’86 and ‘86-’87 seasons, with the defenseman named an All-Hockey East 1st Teamer and an AHCA 2nd Team All American in ‘86-’87. Weinrich would finish his Maine career by appearing in eight games during the ‘87-’88 season before joining the United States National Team.
- Weinrich, the 32nd overall pick in the ‘85 NHL Draft by the New Jersey Devils, got his first taste of the NHL during the ‘88-’89 season when he appeared in a pair of games for the Devils. No former-Black Bear has played more seasons in the NHL than Weinrich, whose career spanned 18 seasons and 1157 games from 1988-2006.
Black Bears to play for the New England Patriots:
- Dave Cloutier - Patriots Career: 12 games played during the 1964 season, 182 return yards
- Maine Career: 1959-’61 - Cloutier was a three sport standout at Gardiner High School and earned a football scholarship to the University of South Carolina before transferring back to Maine following his freshman year. At Maine, he played on both sides of the ball as a tailback on offense and a safety on D. Cloutier did a little bit of everything for Maine’s offense during his three years in Orono, leading the Black Bears in rushing in ‘59 while finishing second on the team in rushing in ‘60 and second in receiving as a senior in ‘61.
- Cloutier was drafted in the 18th round of the 1962 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys before eventually signing with the Buffalo Bills, though he never appeared in an NFL game. After taking a year off and serving as the head football coach at Kennebunk High School, the Maine-native signed with the Boston Patriots for the 1964 season. Listed as a safety, Cloutier was used mainly as a punt returner for the Pats, though he did start in the ‘64 AFC Championship Game against the Bills at Fenway Park. Cloutier was inducted into the UMaine Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
- Brandon McGowan - Patriots Career: 16 games played during the 2009 season, started 11, 78 tackles, 3ff, 2fr
- Maine Career: 2001-’04 - McGowan was a stat sheet stuffer during his four years at Maine accumulating 700 tackles 7.5 sacks, 25 interceptions, 15 forced fumbles and 15 fumble recoveries in 34 games, 33 starts.
- McGowan entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2005 with the Chicago Bears. He stayed with Chicago through the ‘08 season and played in 25 games, recording 113 tackles and two interceptions. IR stints eventually led to the Bears cutting ties with McGowan after the ‘08 season and he was scooped up by Bill Belichick, who thought McGowan could be a diamond in the rough. After impressing in preseason, McGowan started in the Pats’ secondary from weeks 2-14. He appeared in all 16 games for the Patriots in 2009, finishing with 78 tackles in what proved to be his final year in the NFL.
- Matt Mulligan - Patriots Career: 15 games played during the 2013 season, started 4, 2rec/16yds/1td
- Maine Career: 2006-’07 - Mully’s path to the NFL is one of the more unlikely stories and it began in West Enfield, Maine. Mulligan attended Penobscot Valley High School and didn’t play football because, well, there was no team. He went to Husson University to play basketball but it wasn’t long before Gabby Price came calling to put his size to use on the gridiron. After playing at Husson as a sophomore, Mulligan transferred to UMaine as a junior and played in 21 games, 18 starts, during his two-year stint in Orono.
- Mulligan joined the Miami Dolphins as a UDFA in 2008, the first of 10 stops during his 9-year pro career. Mulligan broke through and made his debut with the Jets in ‘08, where he stayed through the ‘10 season appearing in 34 games. The blocking tight end played the ‘11 season in St. Louis, appearing in all 16 games and setting career highs in receiving with eight catches for 84 yards and one touchdown. The 2013 season was a homecoming of sorts for Mulligan, who came back to New England to play with the Pats. He appeared in 15 games, including four starts, and in week four became the first and only Mainer to haul in a TD pass from Tom Brady when he grabbed a 1-yard score in a 30-23 win for the Pats at Atlanta. After leaving Foxborough, much-traveled Mulligan played in 24 games between 2014-’16 while seeing game action for Chicago, Tennessee, Buffalo and Detroit.
- Clay Pickering - Patriots Career: 1 game played during the 1987 season, 1rec/10yds
- Maine Career: 1984 season - Speaking of roundabout ways to get to the NFL, look no further than Clay Pickering. Pickering was born in Florida, grew up in Ohio and arrived in Orono on a basketball scholarship as a junior in 1981 after stops at Wright State University and Daytona Beach Community College. The 6’5” forward posted 15.6 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game for Skip Chappelle’s squad during the ‘81-’82 season, followed by 8.4ppg and five boards per game in ‘82-’83. Pickering returned to Maine as a 5th-year senior for the ‘83 season and had 11 receptions with five touchdowns.
- Pickering latched on with the Cincinnati Bengals as a UDFA in ‘84 and appeared in eight games from ‘84-’86 with the Bengals and the Chicago Bears. After the NFLPA strike was declared on the third week of the ‘87 NFL season, Pickering joined the Pats as a replacement player following a month-long stint serving as a reserve on the replacement Cowboys. Pickering appeared in the Patriots’ week six contest, a 21-7 win at Houston, and caught his lone career reception. He was released at the end of the strike, bringing to an end his 9-game NFL career.
Black Bears to play for the Red Sox:
- Clarence Blethen - Red Sox Career: pitched in five games during the 1923 season, 0-0/7.13era/2k, 17.2ip; 0-6 batting
- Maine Career: 1912-’15 - Blethen was born in the Dover-Foxcroft area in 1893. His place of birth is listed as Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, but there are no records indicating whether he was born in Dover or Foxcroft, as the towns didn’t merge until 1922. Blethen played college baseball at Maine for four seasons before embarking on a lengthy pro baseball career.
- Blethen played in 19 minor league seasons until the age of 44, appearing in 579 games and compiling a career record of 240-181. Blethen made his MLB debut with the Sox in 1923 at the age of 29, appearing in five games. He would not get another shot at the majors until ‘29, when he pitched in two games for the Brooklyn Dodgers as a 35-year-old. In 1933, while playing for the Knoxville Smokies of the Southern Association, Bleven suffered one of the stranger sports injuries you will ever hear. The pitcher, who had false teeth which he would put in his back pocket while running the bases, slid into second base and the false teeth bit him in what the newspaper called “a tender spot.”
- Marty McHale - Red Sox Career: 1910-’11, ‘16, 0-3/5.90era/18k, 8g, 29ip; 0-9, 1 RBI batting
- Maine Career: circa 1910 - McHale played baseball, football and ran track and field during his time in Orono. While pitching for the Black Bears in 1910, he tossed three-consecutive no hitters. That was enough to attract the attention of numerous MLB teams, with McHale choosing to sign with the Red Sox for a $2000 signing bonus (the equivalent of $52,600 in today’s money).
- McHale debuted with the Sox later in the 1910 season and pitched in two games, before appearing in another four games in ‘11. He would pitch in 51 games with the Yankees from ‘13-’15, going 11-27 with a 3.28 era. He returned to Boston in 1916, the final year of his career, and pitched in two games for the Sox. All told, McHale made 64 big league appearances over the course of six seasons with a record of 11-30, a 3.57 era and 131 strikeouts in 358.1 innings pitched. A man of many talents, McHale doubled as a vaudeville singer before and during his MLB career, with Babe Ruth serving as a noted fan of McHale’s singing abilities.
- Jeff Plympton - Red Sox Career: pitched in four games during the 1991 season, 5.1 scoreless innings, 2k
- Maine Career: 1985-’87 - Plympton posted some impressive numbers during his time at Maine, which included tying Bill Swift’s program record with 17 strikeouts in a single game. He also excelled on college baseball’s biggest stage, going 2-1 with a 1.06 era during the ‘86 College World Series.
- Plympton was drafted in the 10th round of the ‘87 MLB Draft and despite a seven-year minor league career which featured solid numbers (279 games - 27-29/3.23era/457k in 502 innings pitched, plus 43 saves) his only big league action would come in the form of four games and 5.1 scoreless innings during the ‘91 season.
- Ralph Pond - Red Sox Career: 1 game played during the 1910 season, 1-4 with a steal
- Maine Career: 1909-’10 - A native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Pond wound up at the University of Maine where he played baseball for two years as a 21 and 22-year-old.
- Had W.P. Kinsella noticed Pond’s entry in The Baseball Encyclopedia, perhaps it would have been the former-Black Bear that became immortalized in Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe and the subsequent Field of Dreams film, rather than Moonlight Graham. That’s because the MLB careers of Pond and Graham were not too different. Graham famously appeared in just one game during the 1905 season as a defensive replacement for right fielder George Brown in the 8th inning. In the top of the 9th, Graham was stranded on deck and would never get an at bat, with his major league career beginning and ending with those two half innings in the field. Pond also played in just one game, which came on June 8, 1910. He started in centerfield for the Sox in a 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Pond went 1-4 with a stolen base, and that was that. He played in 93 minor league games in ‘10 and ‘11 batting .269 with one home run.
Black Bears to play for the Boston Beaneaters (Braves):
- Irv Ray - Beaneaters Career: 1888-’89, 59 games, .255/2/28, eight steals
- Maine Career: circa 1886 - Born in Harrington, Maine in 1864, Ray played on some of the first baseball teams ever fielded at the University of Maine. While it’s likely that Ray was not a member of the first team to ever play at UMaine, simply because of the math, he did feature on the first team to play a 10-game season. Prior to that, UMaine only played a handful of games each spring.
- Ray became the first Maine alum to play in the majors when he turned out for the Boston Beaneaters in 1888. Ray, a shortstop, played in 50 games his first season and hit .248 with two homers and 26 RBI. He joined the Orioles the next season after just nine games with Boston, and hit .331 in 35 total games. He batted .360 in 38 games in 1890, then played in a career-best 103 games in his final season in 1891, hitting .278 with 58 RBI. During his four year career, Ray had 263 career hits, a .292 average, three home runs, 123 RBI and 59 stolen bases in 226 games. Ray returned to Harrington after his playing days, where he lived until his death in 1948.
Honorable mentions: (players from Maine with Boston ties)
- Bill Carrigan - Born and raised in Lewiston, Maine, Carrigan spent his entire life in the Pine Tree State outside of attending college at Holy Cross, plus his player and managerial career with the Red Sox. Carrigan appeared in 709 games as a player for the Sox, batting .257 while serving largely as a platoon catcher. Carrigan won the 1912 World Series as a player with Boston, then guided the team to World Series titles in 1915 and ‘16 as a player manager. Carrigan remained the only manager in franchise history to win multiple World Series titles until Terry Francona matched the feat in 2007. In total, the Mainer managed the Sox in 1003 games with a career record of 489-500-14. One of the most respected players in the game during his career, Carrigan formed relationships with some of the greatest players of all-time as Ty Cobb would often visit Carrigan at his Maine home, while Babe Ruth, a one-time roomate of Carrigan’s said the Lewiston-native was the greatest manager he ever played for.
- Freddy Parent - Another lifelong Mainer, Parent was born in Biddeford in 1875 and made his Major League debut with the St. Louis Perfectos in 1899. Parent’s Red Sox career began in the team’s first season - 1901. He appeared in 986 games during seven years in Boston, including more than 900 games at shortstop, which is currently 5th on the franchise’s all-time list, though Xander Bogaerts is set to pass the mark sometime next week. Noted for his glove, Parent’s defensive efforts are credited with aiding four no-hitters and a perfect game by Cy Young. A career .273 hitter during his time in Boston, Parent twice hit over .300 and finished his 12-year career with a .262 average, 1306 hits in 1327 games, 20 home runs, 471 RBI and 184 stolen bases. He was a member of the 1903 Boston Americans squad which won the first-ever World Series. Parent passed away in Sanford, Maine in 1972 and at the time of his death, was the last surviving participant of the inaugural 1903 World Series.
- Matt Kinney - Kinney was drafted by the Sox in the 6th round of the 1995 MLB Draft after being a standout on the mound at Bangor High School. Kinney was dealt to the Twins organization in ‘98 and eventually made his debut with Minnesota in 2000. Kinney appeared in 103 games during five seasons, including 58 starts. He went 19-27 with a 5.13 era and 297 strikeouts in 389.2 innings pitched. Kinney currently serves as the varsity baseball coach for Hermon High School.
- Skip Chappelle - Chappelle starred on the hardwood at Old Town High School, where he led his team to the 1957 state championship and a place in the old New England Regional Tournament, consisting of the six state’s champions. Chapelle became the first UMaine alum ever to be selected in the NBA Draft when he was taken in the 11th round of the 1962 NBA Draft after three years in Orono. Chappelle received a tryout from Red Auerbach and the Boston Celtics shortly after, but would never appear in an NBA game. He returned to his native Old Town/Orono area and served as the Maine men’s basketball head coach from 1971-88. Chappelle amassed a career record of 217-226.
- Trevor Bates - The Westbrook, Maine-native was drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts after leading the Black Hole Defense where he accounted for 17 sacks in his final three years at Maine. Bates appeared in a single game as a rookie for the Colts before joining the Patriots’ practice squad in 2016. Bates received a Super Bowl ring that year for his contributions to the Pats as a “featured member” of the team’s practice squad. He made a stop on the Giants’ practice squad in ‘17 before getting back on an active roster and appearing in nine games for the Lions in ‘18.