…And the age old battle rages on.
Highly touted Boston College forward Jeremy Bracco has decided to forgo his NCAA eligibility when he decided to sign with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League of the CHL.
Bracco, a second-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, had played in five games for the Eagles. He compiled three assists, all in last Friday’s win over Colorado College.
I have a few feelings about this topic. First, I want to preface this by saying I am a big fan of a school where this type of departure doesn’t happen often. I can name a few cases, but usually they came from not being able to make grades during a semester break.
I don’t view the CHL as the big, bad enemy; the Lex Luthor to college hockey’s Superman. It’s a different option for players and for some, it’s the best option. The presence of the CHL is why the NCAA recruiting landscape is the way it is. There are pros and cons to both.
However, it is a one-way street. Players can sample college hockey all they want, but once you go CHL, you can never come back. The NCAA views CHL as professionals. Why shouldn’t they? For instance, TVA reporter Renaud Lavoie tweeted how much the New York Islanders are paying Anthony Beauvillier to stay play in Quebec for the Shawinigan Cataractes. If that isn’t considered professional, I don’t know what is.
Many people are upset by his departure and for different reasons. Bracco was the subject of many rumors coming into the season on whether or not he will honor his commitment to BC. He even sent out a tweet denying those rumors. Many BC fans feel betrayed/lied to by his departure. Many feel it’s a trend with the National Development Program that many players decide to go the CHL route. Here is the thing; it’s an option for every player under 20. Both ways have proven to be successful.
What we have to remember that these are 18-year-old players, sometimes younger, making career decisions. They have many people talking to them from all different areas. Agents, family, friends, etc. They don’t need some anonymous fan or alum harassing on twitter for something they don’t know much about. Let him make his decision. If it’s not one that you like, shrug your shoulders and move on.
The timing is very peculiar. Usually CHL departures happen after the semester break when grades aren’t up to par. Sometimes they happen when players feel they aren’t getting the playing time they deserve. They don’t often leave five games into the season.
I feel this is only a big blow for BC for one reason; a waste of a scholarship spot. BC has had a very soft schedule up until this point with wins over Colorado College twice, Wisconsin and Army. The lost was against a struggling RPI squad. That’s hardly enough time to gel with teammates or get used to the season. His loss isn’t that big of a blow to Boston College.
But losing a scholarship opportunity to a player who played for only five games is a harsh mistake. The Eagles would have loved to have him make that decision a few months ago, instead of sending out a tweet reinforcing a decision that didn’t turn out to be true. BC scratches talent players that may be on the second line on another team.
Shrug; and move on. The team plays Denver this weekend in a high profile clash on Friday. The Charmin schedule gets a lot more like sandpaper this weekend. The team doesn’t need the distraction.
Plenty of action this weekend as the NCHC starts conference play, the Ivy schools finally drop the puck, and the WCHA has a strong slate of games.
Miami University takes on the St. Cloud State Huskies at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in a rematch of last year’s NCHC championship game. The teams have developed a series of close games over the past few years. Huskies defensive captain Ethan Prow is doubtful for this season, as he is still recovering from a concussion he sustained from the Minnesota State series.
Omaha looks to continue a hot start when it heads to Kalamazoo to face Western Michigan. Omaha has scored in the first period in every game this season; four of six games within the first ten minutes. That has led to a lot chatter on twitter about Omaha’s fancy stats and how they aren’t sustainable. I say wait until they are in a position to play in a close game before those assumptions are made. Omaha has only one game that ended by a one-goal margin, but they were up 4-1 earlier during that game. Everyone is going to focus on playing sound defensive hockey before stretching the lead.
North Dakota heads to Colorado College for a pair. The Tigers haven’t scored a goal since the middle of the second period against Mass-Lowell. Yes, they played a series last weekend.
The Tigers will have to try to solve Matt Hrynkiw (I barely know how to type it, much less pronounce it), has posted a .933 save percentage. It looks to be a long season for the Tigers.
Added note: Shane Gersich (Washington Capitals) is on the trip and may play in the series for North Dakota.
Other series that caught my attention:
– The premier matchup in the WCHA is an early season rematch between Ferris State and Michigan Tech. These teams split in Big Rapids two weeks ago. Early season rematches usually bring a lot of hatred with it, so get ready to count the penalty minutes.
– Arizona State heads to Madison to face the Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers are a shell of what they used to be. Arizona State is the new program on the block. I am really interested to see just how bad things are in Madison. If, somehow, the Sun Devils sweep, I’ll be shocked if coach Mike Eaves is still there. Granted, I’m not sure Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez is even aware hockey still exists in Madison.
– The Ivy schools drop the puck this weekend and many eyes are on Harvard standout Jimmy Vesey, who led the NCAA with 32 goals last year. He is the preseason frontrunner for Hobey Baker.
Anywhere you are, try to catch a game. I couldn’t get to all the games I like this weekend. Halloween weekend is my favorite time to go to a game. College students come up with the most creative costumes. Atmosphere this weekend will be top notch, no matter where you go. My shift is over.