Darren Beers, a record-breaking ice hockey star during his time at Saint Michael’s College, was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2019. A four-year standout defenseman, Beers helped the Purple Knights claim the only NCAA Tournament title in St. Mike’s history: the Division II crown in 1999.
The Saint Michael’s College Department of Athletics inducted its Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2019 on Sept. 28, with six new members being enshrined at the 31st Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet in the College’s Dion Family Student Center. Beers is the 16th men’s ice hockey representative to earn induction.
The Class of 2019 is comprised of: Mike Armstrong ’68, champion boxer; Tracy Romano ’86, all-conference cross country runner and a leader in the field of marine mammal health; Sarah Turkington Kallajian ’92, a key contributor during women’s basketball’s early-90s heyday; Darren Beers ’99, assistant captain for the 1999 NCAA champion men’s ice hockey squad; Amanda Soule Hull ’08, a well-decorated and versatile women’s lacrosse player who graduated with multiple school records; and Paul Schimoler, former men’s lacrosse head coach and legendary goalkeeper.
Beers, who hails from Brewer, Maine and lives in Colchester, was a durable player, tallying 47 points in 99 career games, missing only five possible contests. St. Michael’s was 65-35-4 overall and 42-14-3 in league play during his career. After scoring all four of his goals as a freshman during his first 10 games, the defensive-minded blue liner had six goals in his last 89 career contests, ending with 37 assists among his 47 points while contributing to program-record-setting defense.
The 1995-96 squad finished 12-11-1 overall and 7-6-1 in the old Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Central while advancing to the ECAC North-Central-South Tournament quarterfinals. At the time, St. Michael’s posted a school-record 3.77 goals-against average, and Beers ended with 12 points. Beers added five points as a sophomore, when the Purple and Gold’s 3.80 GAA came en route to a 17-7-1 (11-2-1 ECAC Central) season and a second-place showing in the league. Despite a goal by Beers—one of only two he scored all year—the fourth-seeded Purple Knights were upended by No. 5 University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Dartmouth, 3-2, in the ECAC North-Central-South Tournament quarterfinals. Things came together in 1997-98, when St. Michael’s set a still-standing school record for wins during a 20-7 (12-2 ECAC Central) season that culminated with a regular-season title, the Purple Knights’ first, in the ECAC Central. After two decisive postseason wins, Saint Michael’s again fell to UMass Dartmouth, this time in the title game, 4-2, in the Purple and Gold’s title contest debut.
Beers had a career-high 17 points and helped Saint Michael’s record a 3.58 GAA, its lowest in the first 32 years of the program’s modern era.
The previous years’ postseason experience proved key for the 1998-99 team, with Beers serving as assistant captain.
After going 12-4-1 in the ECAC Northeast, the Purple Knights entered the postseason 14-9-1 and downed Tufts University, 3-2, in overtime during a quarterfinal, just the second postseason victory in program history. However, Saint Michael’s lost a 6-4 decision to second-seeded Fitchburg State University in the semifinals. The Purple Knights earned a second chance at a crown by joining Southern New Hampshire University in the two-game NCAA Division II Tournament series, with the winner claiming the national title. Game one was a 4-4 tie during which the Penmen scored in the third period to force the deadlock, and the teams staged a winner-take-all contest for the national crown in game two. Saint Michael’s led 3-0 by early in the second period before coming through with an 8-5 win, celebrating the College’s first national title on the ice at the Essex Junction Skating Facility. Beers matched a career high with 13 assists that year, and the squad posted a 3.98 GAA.
Beers was well-decorated following the season, earning NCAA Division II All-America first team, New England Hockey Writers Association (NEHWA) All-New England, and ECAC Northeast All-Conference first team accolades.
In the press release following the championship, head coach Lou DiMasi said, “Darren is one of the strongest players we’ve ever had here. He started his career as a forward and moved to defense because that’s what we needed from him.” Following the championship, Beers and four fellow seniors threw the ceremonial first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game on May 5, 1999.
A biology major, Beers was the College’s first member of the Northeast-10 Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and was selected as the league’s national SAAC delegate in 1998-99. He earned the Athletic Department’s Doc Jacobs Award as a senior and was also involved on campus with MOVE. Since graduating, Beers has worked for the South Burlington Police Department for more than a decade.