Column: Trophy Comes With Many Changes
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Amidst the parade, autograph sessions, and team celebrations, several members of the Boston College men’s hockey team have quietly been receiving calls. While they would surely like to spend more time relishing their National Championship victory, core members of this year’s team were being given the opportunity to join professional teams.
Tommy Cross is going to the Bruins’ system. Paul Carey is on his way to Colorado. Barry Almeida signed a contract with the Capitals’ AHL team. Brian Dumoulin is now a minor leaguer for the Hurricanes. Chris Kreider, the team’s leading scorer, will most likely become a key part of the New York Rangers’ playoff run.
These past few weeks have probably been the biggest whirlwind of their lives. First, they’re taking classes in Fulton, studying in Bapst Library, and playing in front of Superfans at Kelley Rink. Next, they’re in the national spotlight, playing for the title of best team in the country. Now, they’ll be the small fish in the big pond. They’ll leave everything they know, and become the “new guys.”
After every individual interview I have with a BC player, I ask him what his career aspirations are. Every time the players reply with a smile, and say that they would love to play professionally. Then there’s always a “but.” That “but” is followed by the player’s true sentiment, that his focus is completely invested in bringing home a National Championship. I’ve never had a player from this team sound insincere with this response. They truly love every aspect of playing for the Eagles, but now it’s their time to move on with their careers. They’ve done what they set out to do here, and their efforts are being rewarded.
This year’s team members reached the pinnacle of their collegiate careers, and now some of these players are having their dreams come true. They’re being placed on professional rosters, nearly tasting the NHL. Kreider is already with the Rangers, as they prepare to make a strong playoff run. They’ve played their whole lives for this opportunity. Every shot taken, every extra hour of skating, and every early morning set in the weight room has been for this opportunity.
These days have been very bittersweet for me. I’ve come to love this team. The dynamic that each player adds has culminated in my love for Eagle hockey, even more than in the past. Especially after last season’s devastating loss in the regionals, this team’s comeback was unbelievable.
Even during their midseason slump, they were invested in the system. They never gave up, and you could tell with the utmost certainty that they were dedicated to the Heights. Not only were they talented players, but they also truly seemed to care about the game, each other and the state of BC hockey. They put their individual accolades aside and focused on the team. Now look at them. National Champions. The best team in the country.
It’s tough to watch these players leave, but it is also exciting to see them continue their careers. It’ll be a totally new team on Kelley Rink, but one thing will remain constant: Jerry York. He’s never let us down before. No matter who’s on the ice, if he’s one of York’s guys, he’ll be a high-character player. He produces the kind of players that professional teams can rely on in the clutch, and we are seeing that right now. That’s why they’re receiving these calls. That’s also why it’s so difficult to see them depart on their separate ways.
The team we’ve all invested all of our time into this season is dissolving before out eyes. No longer will we see Cross rip a slap shot from the circle, or Almeida cut across the ice for the breakaway score. Kreider’s pure talents will be viewed by the Big Apple, while Dumoulin and Carey will hopefully become staples of their respective teams in the upcoming years.
Except for Cross, who is playing in my hometown Boston Bruins’ minor league system, the players I once called members of my team will be spread across the league. Some (without mentioning names … Kreider) will be playing for teams that I despise. But they’ll still be in the hearts of us Superfans. They’ll still be York’s guys. And, no matter where they are, they’ll always be the guys that brought us the National Championship. These three seniors and two juniors have brought us so much joy over the years, and now it’s time for them to reach their goal and become professionals.
Congratulations on the championship. Thanks for all the memories. And good luck as you follow your career ambitions. You’ve made us proud.