Does this post even need an introduction? If you've ever seen Miracle, you know who Jack O'Callahan is, and probably think he's pretty kick-ass and/or the actor playing him is really attractive (and I will argue about neither of those points). But the real Jack O'Callahan is far more than the sass and swagger that reached the big screen. So let's discuss, shall we? You will not be disappointed!
+ OC grew up in Charlestown, Massachusetts... but Miracle already told you that. What Miracle didn't tell you, however, is that growing up in Charlestown was no picnic. It's a super rough area with high rates of drug use and violence, and his upbringing there gave OC a rather large chip on his shoulder. While a good number of the scars on his face are hockey-related, there are also plenty that came from just living in Charlestown (like the time a dude scraped a broken beer bottle down his face). All this fighting manifested itself in OC's style of play on the ice, as he was a take-no-prisoners, win-at-all-costs kind of guy. He would essentially turn demonic during games, was always the first guy to drop his gloves and even got into a fight at the 1978 Sports Festival (with Steve Christoff -- that OC-vs.-Rob-McClanahan fight in Miracle didn't actually happen. OC says that Rob "was much too smart" to pick a fight with him!). He's also missing a whole heck of a lot of teeth. That toothless grin of his was really something else, let me tell you.
+ But before we get too carried away with the thug stereotypes, we need to mention that OC attended Boston Latin high school (an extremely prestigious institution) and got grades good enough to warrant acceptance into Harvard University. He chose to attend BU instead because he thought he'd have a better chance at winning a national championship with the Terriers. In college he majored in American History and would take tours around Boston to learn the city's history and architecture, and even brought up the Battle of Bunker Hill in the post-gold medal press conference at the Olympics. He was BU's top student-athlete in 1978 and at one point, he also had law school aspirations. Basically, Jack O'Callahan was a giant nerd, and don't you ever forget it!
+ OC did indeed win a national championship with BU in 1978, and was named tournament MVP for his six assists. He was good enough to make it onto the world championship team in 1979, which was where he played for Herb Brooks for the first time. The U.S. didn't do particularly well in that tournament, and OC thought he'd played poorly, but Herb loved his character and attitude and told him not to sign a pro contract; he wanted him for the Olympic team, solely based on his personality. OC's personality ended up totally saving his butt in the end, too. I'm sure you're familiar with his knee injury in the pre-Olympic exhibition game against the Soviets thanks to Miracle, yes? Well, Herb decided to keep him on the roster instead of replacing him with an able-bodied player, again, because of his personality. Herb knew that Jack would keep his teammates unified and pumped up and ready to go, so he'd be incredibly necessary for the locker room dynamic even if he couldn't play. In fact, Herb said that in the last five minutes of the game against the Soviets, OC was basically doing most of the coaching on the bench, and all Herb was doing was changing lines. :) OC did get ice time, though, as he went absolutely nuts with rehab and managed to heal his knee sufficiently in record time. He missed the first two games but played in the next five (though in a limited capacity), and even notched an assist for his trouble. (He also happened to hit Herb immediately after they beat the Soviets. He was on the bench as the game finished, and he was equal parts overjoyed with the win and pissed off that he hadn't gotten to play as much as he'd wanted to. So when Herb went in for a hug, OC threw a forearm at his chest before running out onto the ice and tackling Mike Ramsey. Is that not the greatest story you've ever heard?!)
+ A draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1977, OC turned pro after the Olympics and spent two years in the AHL before getting to the NHL. He played on the Hawks for five seasons, helping the team to the Stanley Cup semifinals in 1983 and '85. In '87 he was traded to the New Jersey Devils, where he played another two seasons before injuries started taking their toll and he decided to retire.
+ OC had no desire to stay too involved in hockey once he'd retired, and was all ready to start his next career... in finance. (I mean, I told you he was a super smart nerd, didn't I?!) He'd had some financial internships during hockey off-seasons, so when hockey was finished he jumped right into that world. Within a few years he'd reconnected with Jack Hughes (one of the last cuts from the Olympic team, who also happened to be OC's roommate for that pre-Olympic season), and the two started Beanpot Financial Services (named after the annual hockey tournament between BU, BC, Harvard and Northeastern) in 1992. So those two old hockey teammates have been business partners for 20+ years and are still killin' it.
And I mean, can we talk about this?
That, my friends, is how you get your movie alter-ego on the cover of the Miracle DVD.
Anyway, Jack O'Callahan is probably one of the most amusing human beings to walk the planet, and looking through videos for one to include in this post had me literally laughing out loud. So please, treat yo self and watch this video. It's impossible not to like this guy.
Also, this post is the 11th Miracle Monday, which means we have officially passed the halfway mark on the roster! (Wow, when the heck did that happen?) So if you missed any of the first 10 weeks, you can catch up here!
#1: Steve Janaszak (G)
#3: Ken Morrow (D)
#5: Mike Ramsey (D)
#6: Bill Baker (D)
#8: Dave Silk (RW)
#9: Neal Broten (C)
#10: Mark Johnson (C)
#11: Steve Christoff (RW)
#15: Mark Wells (C)
#16: Mark Pavelich (C)