Boston College’s Chuck Kobasew, the 2000-01 Hockey East Rookie of the Year and 2001 NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player, is poised to leave school for Major Juniors, according to a report by Kevin Conway in today’s Eagle-Tribune (Lawrence, Mass.).
According to the article, Kobasew, who is currently participating in the Canadian National Junior Team tryout camp in Calgary, has confided in fellow camp members, including Merrimack’s Anthony Aquino, that he will not return to BC.
Kobasew’s junior rights are held by the Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets, based out of British Columbia, his home province. The Rockets traded for Kobasew’s rights in June, at which time club general manager Bruce Hamilton said, “We are very excited at the prospect of Chuck playing for us this year. He is a dynamic player who will add instant offence to our team.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound Kobasew scored 49 points last season for the Eagles, and had a nation’s-best 10 game-winning goals. He was then selected in the first round of this June’s NHL Draft by the Calgary Flames. At that time, Kobasew said leaving BC “hasn’t really crossed my mind.”
A number of players in recent years have used major juniors as a way to get out of their NHL rights, but it’s uncertain if that is the case here.
Other possible reasons for Kobasew’s decision include the desire to be closer to home, or wanting to participate in what he might perceive to be a more competitive league.
BC coach Jerry York was dismayed upon hearing the news of Kobasew’s potential departure.
“We’re battling for his return,” said BC coach Jerry York, to the Eagle-Tribune. “We’re still under the impression that he’s coming back, but it’s a complicated issue.”
The article said York was attempting to reach Kobasew on Wednesday night.
BC is already being faced with the apparently imminent departure of another star forward, junior-to-be Krys Kolanos. Kolanos has been involved in discussions with the Phoenix Coyotes, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2000, for most of the summer. According to a recent report, those talks have intensified.
The loss of both stars would obviously deal a serious blow to the Eagles’ hopes of repeating as national champions.