If you read this blog with any regularity you know that Pants and I love us some Boston University (#ScarletAndWhiteForLife) – we are proud alumnae after all – and for the last few years, I’ve been a BU Hockey season ticket holder. (Section 112, represent).
While the focus of this blog is primarily the NHL, I like try to mix it up and occasionally espouse the joys of college hockey – it is after all where some of the games best players get their start.
This weekend, the Boston University Terriers began their 2014-2015 season with a 12-1 drubbing of St. Thomas University (from New Brunswick).
Yes, you read that correctly. 12 to 1. The Terriers scored a dozen goals. Okay, so maybe the St. Thomas University Tommies (natch) were they most stellar of the teams, but still. The only time I’ve ever seen a dozen of anything in a hockey rink is that time Pants and I got fined a dozen donuts for skipping an intramural broomball game.
This weekend also marked the debut of wunderkid Jack Eichel. Never heard of him? Well you soon will. That’s because he is projected to be the #1 draft pick in this year’s NHL Draft. (Last time #1 pick was a BU kid was Rick Dipietro in 2000 and we all know how that ended.)
Since making his name with the USA Hockey development program and winning gold at last year’s World Junior Championships, hockey pundits and NHL scouts have been touting the 17 year old Jack Eichel as the new face of American hockey.
“He’s the next Patrick Kane,” they say.
“The next Evgeni Malkin,” they say.
“The next Bill S. Preston, Esquire,” I say.
I’m typically not one to buy into all the hype until I’ve actually seen someone play, but after seeing Eichel this weekend, I can totally see that they were talking about.
In his first game in the scarlet and white, Eichel skated on the 1st line and had 5 assists. Watching him play, you know that the kid has that something, that intangible, undefinable hockey “thing”.
His skill was excellent and his skating explosive. Two strides and he was past the defender. Two more strides and he was through the neutral zone, puck on his stick, then a quick dish to his linemate for the score.
At 6’2″ and about 195 lbs, Eichel has the size to be a NHL player. A couple of years playing in a prestigious program like BU and in what is arguably the most competitive league in the college hockey will situate Eichel to make that jump to the NHL.
But Eichel is just one piece of the puzzle. This weekend, the Terriers dressed 10 freshman. New coach cleaned house in the off-season to build a team that fit into his coaching style and his ideals of what a student-athlete should be.
The Terriers – and college hockey- is all about potential. It is about the potential that these young men have to fulfill their childhood dreams and make it to the NHL.
Some, like Jack Eichel, will make it. Some will not. Maybe they’ll become coaches. Or scouts. Or simply return to their hometowns and become beer-league all-stars. Maybe some walk away from the sport all together after their college playing days are over and get married and raise a family. Whatever their path might be, these young men will be better men for having played college hockey.
So I guess the moral of this post is that if you happen live in an area that has college hockey, go and watch some games. The games are seriously affordable and highly entertaining. I seriously doubt you’ll be disappointed.
And if you’re lucky, the rink will sell beer like mine does.
Tags: Boston University, Boston University Hockey, College Hockey, Jack Eichel