CHESTNUT HILL - You couldn't help but smile. All of the tough times that the Boston College faithful have gone through recently, with a bad football team and a rebuilding basketball team, made Saturday night all that much sweeter.
Honoring the champions of past and present, Boston College hockey celebrated its latest crowning achievement -- a national championship-winning season in 2012 -- by raising the title banner at Kelley Rink inside a sold out Silvio O. Conte Forum in the 2012 home opener against Hockey East rival Northeastern.
With the stands rapidly filling up minutes before puck drop, Boston College honored members of its past national championship winning teams, going way back to 1949 and all the way to last year's teams. Following a video tribute, the banner was hoisted to the rafters, where it will reside for the rest of time.
"I thought it was really a proud moment for all of us -- subway alumni, alumni, our former players that were here," Eagles head coach Jerry York said. "They were back and it was fun to see. Lenny Ceglarski and Warren Lewis, right from  to  to  to , all the guys that could come were here. It was an electrifying moment for myself personally to watch the ceremony."
The championship was Boston College's fifth and its fourth since 2001. The Eagles have won titles in alternating years since its 2008 championship season, also claiming national titles in 2010 and again in 2012. BC began the year ranked No. 3 in the country and would win eight of its first 12 games. The Eagles hit a bit of a rough patch from November 5th through January 21st, losing nine of 16 contests, but they finished the regular season strong with 11 consecutive victories and the No. 1 ranking in the nation. BC won all eight postseason games it played, coasting through the Hockey East Tournament and downing Air Force, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota and Ferris State in the National Championship Game to put a bow on another wildly successful season.
"Excitement," Johnny Gaudreau said when asked about his emotions as he watched the banner go up. "The banner getting raised, that's something special. That doesn't happen every day. The whole team took it to heart and just wanted to get a [win] here at the home ice now that we were raising the banner."
Gaudreau and his teammates were able to do just that, too. Gaudreau scored a breakaway goal to help lead Boston College past Northeastern, 3-0, while improving to 2-1 and avenging their season-opening loss to the Huskies.
As exciting as banner night was, the Eagles must put it in the rear view mirror and focus on the season at hand. Boston College unsurprisingly opened the 2012-13 season tied for the top ranking in college hockey with Minnesota.
"The banner was the end of last year's championship," Gaudreau said. "It's in the back of our minds. We want to win another one, but we have to let that go. We can't be thinking about last year and what we did last year. It's a completely new season and I think the captains have put that into our team to make sure we all know that last season's over and the new season has begun."
All signs point to another deep postseason run for Boston College, and if the Eagles can keep their focus and hit their stride at the right time once more, there's a pretty good chance that we'll be doing this once again next year.
Gethin Coolbaugh is the Editor of SB Nation Boston. Twitter: @GethinCoolbaugh.