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College Hockey:
The Kid Who Wore Number Three

He began playing hockey at the age of two. A natural athlete, he competed primarily against older players until he was selected to the national Select-16 and Select-17 teams, beginning a streak during which he made every national team he tried out for. Recruited by all the top schools, he selected Boston University, in part because coach Jack Parker “really gets players ready for the next level.” He already had his eye on his ultimate dream, to play in the NHL.

Chris O’Sullivan will now get that opportunity. A second round draft pick of Calgary in 1992, O’Sullivan signed with the Flames in late August, forgoing his senior year at Boston University.

“I just thought it was the right point in my career,” he said. “I need the challenge of going up to the next level and getting used to the competition. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing….

“My number one [goal] is to make the Calgary Flames. I’m not going there to go to the minors or sit in the background. I’m going to go there and make that team. [After that] I would love to play in the NHL as long as I can.”

Although he is leaving, BU still holds a place near to his heart. “I’m going to miss those guys,” he said. “Boston University was my greatest experience. I can’t say enough good things about the place and about the people I’ve met there.”

Perseverance In The Face Of Adversity

Although at first glance Chris O’Sullivan’s career has been one smooth stride from one level to the next, that hasn’t always been the case. Part of a family with eleven children, Chris remembers their father “making three or four trips a day going back and forth to the baseball field or hockey rink or football practice or my sister’s field hockey. It was tough when I was in high school when my father first got sick and ended up passing away from cancer. That’s when I decided to come home from prep school and go to Catholic Memorial. The first month I enrolled at CM in the fall, that’s when my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer.”

The O’Sullivan clan, led by oldest brother Shaun, then twenty-seven, circled the wagons. Shaun, who had played at Northeastern and in the pros, supported the family. “We all pulled together,” said Chris, “and everyone pitched in doing their share.” Neighbors and teammates helped out with rides and somehow the dreams stayed alive, not only for Chris but also for his sister Stephanie, who has since gone on to be 1995 ECAC Women’s Player of the Year and is now looking towards competing in the 1998 Olympics.

At Catholic Memorial Chris found a different high school environment than he had experienced while away at Governor Dummer. “Governor Dummer was more of a prep school where hockey was secondary,” he said. “CM always pushed you to get your education, but the hockey was so important for them. Winning was such a big tradition.” That suited Chris just fine as he led them to yet another state championship.

During these years he was also earning berths on the national Select teams. “One of the highlights of my career was to participate in USA Hockey. They have such a great program and develop kids at such a young age.” A year after playing in a local tournament with the Select-16 team, Chris tried out for the Select-17 team. “I made that team and we got to travel to Japan. That was a great experience.”

Even after entering college, Chris’s links to USA Hockey continued. “When I was 19 I made the national junior team and we played in Czechoslovakia for two weeks. Then when I was twenty I went to the world championships in Stockholm, Sweden. I’ve been very fortunate to make those teams at every level that I’ve tried out. They’ve given me different life experiences that I’ll probably never get to have again.”

His experience with the Select teams, combined with his play at high-profile Catholic Memorial, made him a highly sought-after recruit.

“BU was always my number one choice, but I wanted to make sure. I never wanted to go to BU and then maybe look back and wonder about what the other schools had to offer,” he said. Boston College, Maine, Michigan, and Wisconsin were among the other possibilities.

After trips to BC and Maine he considered his choices. “I wanted my family to be able to see me play around Boston so that eliminated Michigan and Wisconsin. So it came down to Maine, BU, and BC. I just felt that all-around BU would be the best place for me. I’d grown up watching them and had admired the guys who had played for them and then gone on to have great NHL careers. So I thought that would be the best step to reaching my ultimate dream, which would be to have the opportunity to get to the NHL.”

Over Before It Started

Chris didn’t enroll at BU until midway through the 1992-93 season since he was completing his high school coursework at CM during the fall semester. Even though he was joining an established Terrier squad in mid-season, Chris still felt immediately at home.

“I was fortunate enough to grow up with, and have as one of my close friends, Kevin O’Sullivan who was captain at BU that year.” Kevin O’Sullivan, no relation to Chris, was one of many BU players who had also gone to CM. This list also included Mike Prendergast, Michael and Mark Bavis, Stephen Foster, and Dan Donato.

“All those guys played at CM before and so we’d always had that connection. That’s why I was always comfortable around the locker room even before I got to BU because I had known those guys. I wasn’t walking into a locker room where no one knew who I was or I didn’t know much about them.”

While making a smooth transition off the ice and in the locker room, Chris was immediately tested on the ice. “Coach Parker gave me a great opportunity in the five games I did play before I got injured. He had me playing the power play. He threw me into the fire to see what I could do. I felt I was ready and he felt I was ready. It worked out pretty well. It was just unfortunate that the injury happened.”

In his fifth game Chris broke his neck, ending his season. Although comparisons to Travis Roy’s injury are inevitable, Chris’s injury was quite different. Although he lost feeling for a few seconds after hitting the boards, he was able to get to his feet with the help of the trainer and actually didn’t get X-rays until two days later. Five weeks after the accident he had surgery, which fused a bone graft from his hip into his neck to stabilize the shifting vertebrae. The surgery has left him with an eight-inch scar rising up from the base of his neck, but the ensuing eight months of rehab and continued attention to stretching and massage have resulted in a pain-free outcome.

Only In Horseshoes And Hand Grenades

After redshirting his abortive 1992-93 season, Chris began the 1993-94 campaign part of a deep crew of Terrier blueliners that also included eventual All-Hockey East first team selection Rich Brennan as well as Kaj Linna, a second team All-American the previous year, Dan Donato, Doug Wood, and freshmen Jon Coleman and Shane Johnson. BU was again a league and national powerhouse, due in no small part to this group.

As the Beanpot neared, Chris had established himself in most observers’ eyes as one of the top three Terrier defensemen along with Brennan and Linna. Then, injury struck once again. “Four days after I did an interview about how excited I was to play in the Beanpot, I separated my shoulder and was unable to play,” Chris recalled. “That was one of the toughest situations I’ve been in as an athlete. I grew up watching the Beanpot. Playing in it is such a big thing.”

Without both Linna and O’Sullivan, BU was dominated in the opening round by Harvard 4-2, a deceptively close score in a game totally controlled by the Crimson. “It was frustrating to have suffered back-to-back injuries in January that kept me from playing in the Beanpot [two years in a row].”

Although he had again missed a Beanpot opportunity, Chris soon returned to the lineup. As the playoffs approached, the Terriers had earned their first regular season Hockey East title. As the number one seed in the league playoffs, however, they encountered an unlikely first round opponent.

The Maine Black Bears, saddled with forfeits and a league playoff ban for violations involving ineligible players, had gotten a court injunction allowing them to play.

Maine’s fourteen forfeits had transformed them, however, from a number two seed in the tourney to its lowest seed. Rather than breezing past easy pickings in the opening round, the Terriers were instead matched up against a top rival that was eager to save playoff face.

“At first when we found out [that we were playing Maine] we were really questioning it. They had a great team,” said Chris, “…[but] we just took that as a challenge. We had a team meeting and the guys, the older guys especially, said, ‘Let’s end their season legally now. No off the ice stuff. Let’s do it on the ice.’”

To make matters worse, they would have to face the Black Bears without Chris, J.P. McKersie, Jay Pandolfo, and Doug Wood in the first game of the best-of-three series. All four had been involved in a brawl near the close of the final regular season game against Providence. Ironically, the BU players had rushed into the brawl in defense of Mr. Intimidation himself, Mike Grier, who according to reports had been tangling with two Providence players.

Coach Jack Parker had not been pleased with the fighting and resulting suspensions. Chris, however, saw things differently. “At the time it was the thing to do. I’d do it again if it happened again. I felt one hundred percent in the right. It didn’t really mean that much what the Coach thought about it. The Coach was disappointed in all of us that took part in it. He just thought it got out of hand, that the refs let it get out of hand. But when that happens to your teammate, you can never go back to the bench or into the locker room again if [you do] anything but [stand up for them].

“Those are the things you have to do sometimes. I think the Coach realized that. But I think he was only disappointed because he thought we should have been smarter with the playoffs coming up.”

As it turned out, BU and the suspended players dodged a bullet. They beat Maine 8-5 without the four players and then completed the sweep 4-3 the following night. They then went on to win the Hockey East championship, beating UMass-Lowell 3-2 in the finals.

What appeared to be a BU juggernaut rolled through the NCAA playoffs until the title game, posting convincing 4-1 wins over first Wisconsin in the regionals and then the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the semifinals. Only Lake Superior State, coached by Jeff Jackson, stood in the way of BU’s first NCAA championship since 1978.

Lake State, however, not only took the crown, they humbled the Terriers in the process, 9-1. It was a sobering, disquieting loss that would haunt the squad all summer long. Two years after the fact, Chris viewed that game from a perspective that was probably not possible at the time.

“Having played for Jeff Jackson last summer in Finland for the Over-20 Select Team, I realize now what a great system he has and how disciplined his players are. They didn’t have to have all the top talent in the country to go out and win the championship. I know we had the talent that year to win it, but they were more disciplined than [we were], especially in that game.

“They were just a great team. They didn’t have individuals who went out and scored forty goals, but collectively they were the best team in the country. You have to give them credit for being a great team and a great coach. But that lit a fire under us that summer.”

Chris had one additional source of summertime motivation. When Hockey East announced its All-Rookie team, his absence was conspicuous. Picked ahead of him were John Jakopin from Merrimack and Tim Murray of UNH. For a player who’d been selected to seemingly every team he’d ever tried out for, the snub stung.

“I’ve got to admit that I was pretty disappointed. I really thought that I might have deserved [to make the team]. But… you can use it for motivation or you can be bitter about it and maybe think you’re not getting the respect you deserve. I looked at it as motivational and that helped me come back the next year and do some things differently.”

Differently indeed.

Movin’ On Up…To A National Championship

When Chris returned to the BU campus in the fall of 1994 he found that Coach Parker “had a different agenda for me. We lost Mike Pomichter who signed with Chicago in August and we had lost two other left wings to graduation that year. So we were thin on left wing.

“He actually asked me how I felt about playing left wing but before I answered he said, ‘I’m just asking you out of courtesy because that’s where you’re playing,’ and he joked about it. He said, ‘That’s what the team needs. We’re going to try you there and see how it goes and if you don’t adjust well you’ll just go back to D.’ He was going to try it until December and see how it went.”

Paired with center Steve Thornton and right wing Mike Grier, the trio hit the ground running and never looked back. In no time they became one of the most feared lines in college hockey.

What was the key to the line’s success? “We had a great center in Steve Thornton. He was a great power play guy, a great shorthanded guy, a great regular shift guy. He was a skilled guy but he also worked his tail off…. He was a good skater. He was a great handler of the puck. He was a very smart player.

“Mike Grier brought a lot also, his size and his intimidation. It was just a great combination from the start. I couldn’t have asked to play with two better linemates.”

Although the Terriers, and especially his line, were playing well, Chris was still nervous heading into the 1995 Beanpot. Since he’d been injured the previous two years and been unable to play, this time he was taking no chances. “The few days before the Beanpot even walking around the campus I had to make sure I didn’t get hurt or have anything happen. I felt that unlucky about it.” As it turned out, there was nothing to worry about. Chris played and BU breezed to a 6-2 win over Northeastern, followed by a 5-1 win over Boston College in the final.

After tying Maine for the Hockey East regular season crown, BU took the Hockey East championship for the second straight year with three close wins: 4-3 over Merrimack in the quarterfinals, 4-2 over UMass-Lowell in the semis, and 3-2 over Providence in the championship game.

The Terriers parlayed their 28-6-3 record and Hockey East championship into a deserved ranking as the number one seed in the NCAA Eastern Regional.

So what easy matchup did that deliver into BU’s grasp?

In an irony lost on most BU fans, the Terriers, the number one seed, drew the hottest team in the country. And not just any old “hottest team in the country.” It was the boogeyman that had haunted their closets all summer long. Lake Superior State, the team that had humiliated them the previous year, had looked dead and buried halfway through the season before it had Bela Lugosi-ed itself into the NCAA’s with an amazing stretch run of 15-1-1. They were the last team anyone wanted to be paired against.

“When they came out with the pairings,” Chris recalls, “we weren’t happy about getting Lake State because we felt that we deserved a different team. But we definitely weren’t going to cry about it. We just felt that… we’d have to go out there and play hard.”

The Terriers didn’t just nudge the boogeyman back into the closet. They knocked him out cold and sent him to Hades while posting a dominating 6-2 win. “We had a great game as a team and everyone pitched in. It felt like getting a monkey off our back.”

From there the Terriers beat Minnesota 7-3, largely on the strength of a third period, four-goal outbreak. In the finals, facing Hockey East rival Maine, who had outlasted Michigan in a legendary triple overtime semifinal game, BU won all three periods on the way to a 6-2 win. “Playing three big schools with three big traditions [like Lake State, Minnesota, and Maine] made it that much sweeter.”

Chris’s three goals during championship weekend, one in the semifinals against Minnesota and two in the finals against Maine, along with his stellar all-around play, garnered him tournament MVP honors. “That was a great feeling for me personally, just the feeling of being able to contribute to a championship. The fact that we got to win the national championship was something I had dreamed about as a kid. Finally getting the ring meant so much to me as a player. Looking back on my career the biggest achievement so far has been winning the national championship and getting a ring with my teammates.”

Highs and Lows, Frustrations And Disappointments

“[1995-96] was a very emotional year for us as a team going through JP’s comeback and Travis’s injury. That’s where Coach Parker came in and did an exceptional job,” said Chris. “It was tough for us and maybe took us out of focus a little bit. Seeing something like that makes you appreciate life that much more and appreciate playing the game and seeing how lucky you are getting a scholarship for something you love doing. It just makes you think about life and the different experiences and different opportunities you can make of it.”

Would Travis’s injury make the Terriers more cautious and less aggressive? “When I look at that injury it’s a very scary thing. But you can’t be out there thinking about getting hurt or what might happen. You have better odds of getting in a car accident. If you’re out there to play, you have to do it 100% and play hard or it’s not worth being out there.”

As it turned out, the Terriers overcame their obstacles and raced out to a 15-1-1 start. They were ranked number one in the nation. “We had a great record, we had great team unity, and we were on a roll. But then we had a couple of bad games, got a couple bad bounces, and all of a sudden we had a few losses. That wasn’t something we’d been through in the past.”

The seeds of their eventual downfall began to be sown. “We weren’t doing the things we did in the past year. We weren’t beating teams coming right out of the gate. We weren’t scoring two or three goals quickly. We’d find ourselves down maybe one or two before we got going. I don’t really have an answer for what exactly it was, but that was the track record we got ourselves into. It ended up killing us in the end.”

After again taking the Hockey East regular season crown and then rolling over the UMass-Amherst Minutemen in the playoff quarterfinals, BU squared off against Providence. The Friars had slumped in the second half of the season, but had rallied to beat Boston College to advance to the playoff semifinals. Most observers expected the Friars to become dog chow for the powerful Terriers.

BU, however, dug itself a 5-2 hole in the first two periods, much like they had done to such a frustrating degree over the second half of the season. Although a furious third period rally closed the score to 5-4, the Friars hung on for the win. They went on to win the Hockey East tournament, a championship that BU felt should have been theirs.

“If we’d played the first and second periods like we played the third,” said Chris, “it wouldn’t have been a close game at all. I don’t know why we weren’t focussed. We paid the price in the Hockey East tournament.”

At that point Coach Parker had seen enough. The Terrier defense, a stronghold in previous years, was not collectively playing championship-caliber hockey. Although Jon Coleman would eventually earn All-American honors, the lower end of the blueline depth chart was not getting the job done. Since there was more than enough front line talent, Parker moved Chris back to defense prior to the Hockey East consolation game and kept him there for the NCAA playoffs.

“I was playing forward at the time and I wasn’t producing a lot. I was playing injured the last two months of the season. I tore a ligament in my thumb and I was playing with a cast for those two months. I thought I could help the team more if I played defense. That’s something that I [told] the coach, that if it would be better for the team if I played defense he could move me back. Whatever was best for the team. And that’s what he did after we lost to Providence.”

Although Chris personally played well after the position shift, the Terriers continued to play less than sixty minutes at full throttle. They played forty minutes of a sixty minute game against Clarkson in the NCAA regionals, nearly squandering a 3-0 third period lead.

Then came Michigan in the semifinals.

“Not to take any credit away from Michigan because they played a solid game with us, but we did the exact same thing. We got outshot 17-1 in the opening ten minutes of the game. You can’t expect to win a game, especially in the Final Four, getting outshot 17-1. Especially at the beginning. We never really got to recover from that and we ended up getting shutout.

“It was frustrating… that we just couldn’t get it together as a team. The effort was there…. I felt we were the best conditioned team in the country…. It was just that something wasn’t clicking…. You go through spells like that when you just don’t have the answer.”

The season, so full of hope on the heels of the 1994-95 national championship, had finished on a very sour note for the team. Individually, the year had also been a disappointment for Chris. After tallying 23-33–56 in 1994-95, earning him second team All-American honors, Chris had dropped to 12-34–46.

“I wasn’t scoring a lot at the beginning of the year but we were winning. So everything was fine. I was trying to contribute as much as I could. I just went into a scoring drought. As the year went on I didn’t think I played as much as maybe I should have or could have to be more effective. But that wasn’t totally my decision. I was able to talk about that with the coaches, but we were doing so well that it wasn’t that important. I wasn’t looking at pressure on the statistics.”

Then the injury bug struck again, insuring that no late season flourish would be in the offing to make up for Chris’s goalscoring drought. “I was told the week before the Beanpot when I tore the ligament in my thumb that I could be out six-to-eight weeks. But I saw the doctor and was able to get a playing cast so it could be protected. I probably did play at 80% for the rest of the season. But I was willing to do that because I couldn’t afford to take the six-to-eight weeks off to watch from the sidelines, especially after what I went through during my freshman year with my broken neck. As long as I could skate, I’d definitely be out there.”

“My assists were right up there with the year before but my goals were considerably down. That’s something I’ve been working on this summer, but I look back on and it’s frustrating. It was just something that happened and there’s no other excuse for it. I thought I was very prepared going into the season and I was happy at times with how I played but I think it came down to a little inconsistency. I guess that’s something I have to work on.”

Do What’s In Your Heart

After the 1994-95 season, Calgary had shown minimal interest in signing Chris, feeling that he needed an additional year at BU. They were singing a different tune this past summer. NCAA regulations prohibit a player from hiring an agent, so the feeling-out process must be handled delicately.

“I had a family advisor towards the end of the season. And towards the end of the season Calgary contacted him through my family lawyer. He, [the family lawyer], contacted him and told him they were interested in getting me out. [My advisor told Calgary], ‘If you’re real interested, you should think about how interested you are because of the strict rules in the NCAA about negotiating. So you should maybe come up with an offer and if we’re close we’ll come out and negotiate or whatever…. If it’s not in the ballpark, he’ll go back to school.’

Chris added, “But it really wasn’t about that. It was about opportunity. I turned twenty-two in May, and I just thought it was the right point in my career.

“Coach Parker advised me and said, ‘Do what’s in your heart. If you want to come back and play college hockey and have a great year, you can go out on a real positive note. Or… if you need the challenge, and you think it’s time to go, then do that.’ ”

Chris had always appreciated Parker’s interest in his players. Parker wasn’t just a coach who only saw his players at the rink and then forgot about them. He was involved in their day-to-day activities.

Coach Parker had commented about three specific players at the end of the year, giving his view of their turning pro early. “He said that maybe Mike Grier should leave school. That he’s the type of player that has to get ready for the next level. That Shawn Bates might need another year of school overall for his development. That it would be best for his career if he came back to school for his senior year. And that for me it was up in the air. It was up to me. He didn’t know what the best decision would be for me. He said, ‘It’s all in your mind. Whatever you think [the right decision] is. I don’t want you to coming back to school and maybe playing at 90% and thinking about what could have been if [you] had signed.’ I realized halfway through the summer that it was really time to go and time to take the challenge. That’s when I decided to talk to Calgary and it ended up working out kind of quickly.”

Chris still intends to get his degree. “The number one priority when we were discussing this was getting my schooling done. But I’m a hockey player and I can’t play hockey until I’m fifty or sixty years old. I want to have fun while I’m doing it and hopefully do it as a career.

“But also on the school end I’ve always wanted my degree and my parents always wanted me to get my degree. I have a few brothers and sisters who have earned their college degrees, so it’s definitely something that I want to get done. I have exactly one year left, and I’ve already talked it over with my advisor. I had it put in my contract so I’ll be pursuing that starting next summer, finishing my year up and earning my sociology degree.”

Chris still believes in BU’s chances this year despite their significant losses to graduation and Mike Grier’s and his own early departures.

“They have a great freshmen class coming in. And they have Bates and Coleman and Drury, who have proved to be great, great players at this level. And they’re going to have great careers when they get out of college because they’re very talented players and they’re also great leaders. So there’s plenty of talent there and Coach Parker is still coaching there. As long as he’ll be there they’ll have very competitive teams…. Everyone on the team is hard-working and the mentality there is to win. They don’t accept losing…. They may have lost some leadership with me and Mike, and maybe some points and some talent, but the kids will just have to pick up the slack because they definitely have the talent.”

“I Couldn’t Tell You The First Thing About Calgary…”

Chris’s life will now change in major ways.

In college, a hockey player’s schedule is typically geared towards preparing for games on Friday and Saturday night. At BU, coming off a weekend’s games, the team would take either Sunday or Monday off, using the other day for a light skate and light session with the weights. Tuesday mornings, from the beginning of the season until early February, the team would gather at seven for a three-mile run before classes. That afternoon, they’d reconvene for practice. Wednesday practices would focus on conditioning, with laps and a hard skate the norm, while Thursdays would be less physically demanding as time would be spent on topics like the power play.

Friday would usually be a game day. “Pregame skates were mandatory. We’d skate from twelve to one, then have a team meeting at twenty past one. [We'd have] a pregame meal at 2:30. After the pregame meal on Friday I’d go back and watch a movie. I shared a room with Shawn Bates and we’d get a few of the guys and sit around and watch a movie. Just to get our heads away from it for a little. Just be relaxed.

“Then around five o’clock [we'd] maybe have a little snack. That’s when you start getting focused. You get down to the rink a little early. You start thinking about the game and preparing yourself mentally, getting stretched if you have to see the trainer. That’s something I always did, especially with my neck.

“On Saturdays, if we had a game the night before, after the pregame meal I usually took an hour and a half nap to make sure I was rested, because I always felt that after playing a Friday night game it was tough to get to sleep that night with a game the next night. So I always took a nap the afternoon of the next day.

“That’s the week of an athlete. You’re so tired and you have school to worry about too. You learn so much there and you put so much effort on the ice and off the ice into school. And you have your social life, your friends that you see. You want to make sure you have a good time and hang out and be a regular college student also. It’s a fabulous experience that I had.”

In the NHL, the focus will not be on a full week’s preparation for two weekend games, but rather, with three or four games a week, constantly getting ready for a game only a day or two away. Chris has been working hard during this offseason to prepare himself for the more physically demanding rigors of professional hockey. In late August he participated in a two-week conditioning camp at BU along with pros like Kevin Stevens, Joe Sacco, Dave Sacco, Rick Tocchet, and Kyle MacLaren.

“We skate from eight to ten in the morning. We work out with [BU Strength and Conditioning Coach] Mike Boyle afterward for an hour to an hour and a half. So that gets us prepared physically….

“I’ve worked very hard this summer, especially the last few weeks. It’s very important for me to stay focussed and go up there and give it my best shot and not look back and say, ‘I should have done this, I wished I’d done that.’ ”

There will also be a major lifestyle change. Gone will be the days when he could hop on the T, Boston’s subway system, and eat at home with his family. Gone will be the familiar Boston surroundings. The big city kid from Dorchester will be going to what may feel like the boonies in comparison.

“It’s going to be very strange. I think that’s going to be my biggest adjustment and lifestyle change. I’ve already had some advice from some people, especially Mike Sullivan who played at BU. He’s a member of the Calgary Flames. He’s been out there for a few years. Hopefully he can help me adjust out there as far as [getting comfortable] during training camp with the city. He’s talked to me a lot about it. Knowing someone who is going to camp is pretty important. I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be good to get away from home for once and see how I do on my own.

“I couldn’t tell you the first thing about the city of Calgary,” Chris said, laughing. “The only thing I know about it is that they had the Olympics there. It looked great on TV back then but I don’t have the first clue as to what type of city [it is] or what the strengths of the city are. I know the taxes are pretty tough there for Canadians, but that’s about it so far….

“I’ve always grown up watching the Bruins. I’ve always said I would love to play for the Bruins. I think playing close to home was very comfortable for me, but at this age this is best for me and Calgary has been a great organization . They’ve been great to me while I’ve been in college…. They’ve been first class people. I’m really looking forward to playing for the organization and being a part of it for a very long time.”

Although the Flames drafted him as a defenseman, Chris isn’t completely sure whether he’ll be on the blueline or at forward. “I think they want me to play defense but we’ll see how I adjust to playing defense at that level. I still haven’t squashed the chances of coming back and also playing forward. That’s basically up to them. I can play both, I know I can play both…. So whatever I have the better shot at playing in the National Hockey League is where I’ll play.”

The Kid Bids Adieu

As he prepared for this next step in his career, he looked back on the college hockey game. “I’m going to miss those type of fans compared to the average pro fan who is up there screaming and yelling about people making money and that they’re not worth it. It’s definitely a different type of fan. I’m going to miss that game.”

When asked how he’d like those college hockey fans to remember him, he responded with a fitting epitaph for his career with the Terriers.

“I’d just like them to remember me as the kid who wore number three for BU and who was a national champion.”


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