OXFORD, Ohio — Randy Robitaille, sophomore center for the Miami Redskins, signed a contract with the Boston Bruins on Monday. Robitaille will play for the Bruins on Thursday night; financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“It’s better than first-round money,” says Miami head coach Mark Mazzoleni.
“This is a great situation for me, not only because I’m playing right away,” says Robitaille. “It’s a great situation for me to go to Boston because they’re rebuilding right now. They’re bringing in a lot of young guys. I just thought that it would be the best place for me to start and hopefully build a career in the NHL.”
Robitaille told reporters after Miami’s 4-2 loss to Cornell in Western Regional NCAA playoff action that he was coming back to Miami next season, and he says he really didn’t think he was going anywhere.
“About ten teams contacted my parents after we lost. They talked to my mom, and she contacted my advisor.
“There was talk all year, but for me to leave as a sophomore, the money had to be good.”
Mazzoleni says he has “mixed emotions” about Robitaille leaving. “I’m elated for him. The money he received is a strong indication of Boston’s commitment to rebuilding their team and of Randy’s role in that rebuilding.
“It’s a tremendous statement for our hockey program. We’ve been able to recruit a young man like that and develop him.
“For Randy, it’s a life-time dream.”
Robitaille says leaving his teammates will be hard. “I’m going to miss the guys tremendously. I would have liked to have been a part of the team next year, because I think we have a chance to do very well, but I have to look out for myself.
“They’re going to miss me, too, but they know this chance doesn’t come around too often, and you have to take it when it does.”
“He’s a franchise player,” says Mazzoleni. “It will put a dent in our armor, but certain people will pick up their game. Even without Randy, we’ll be even better balanced next year [than we were this year] because of recruits and developing young players. We’ll have a good hockey team next year.”
Robitaille says he’ll return to campus after Boston’s season is over to finish some course work, and Mazzoleni stresses that college can lead to more than one type of education.
“You’re here to educate the kid and move him on academically for a career path,” says Mazzoleni. “Robitialle’s career path is hockey.”
Robitaille’s signing marks the second time in two weeks that undrafted CCHA players have signed with NHL teams. Bowling Green forward Mike Johnson signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs just after the Falcons bowed out of CCHA Tournament play. Like Robitaille, Johnson’s deal included immediate play in the NHL.
Mazzoleni says Robitaille’s signing should give hope to other players because he wasn’t drafted.
“Randy is going to represent well Miami and the CCHA,” says Mazzoleni.