Boston College: Former Eagles raise the bar

TAMPA, Fla. — Much has already been written about Boston College’s recent run of success. On Saturday night, the Eagles will be appearing in their fifth national championship game in the last seven years. If they win, they will have earned their third NCAA title in the last five seasons.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the program,” BC captain Tommy Cross says. “It’s a privilege to be at Boston College. I don’t think there’s a better group of guys. Everybody wants to be in that room. Everyone wants to wear maroon and gold.”

The BC locker room displays the motto Once an Eagle, always an Eagle. Past players have lived up to those words, keeping in contact with this year’s squad. The list includes the captains of the last two BC championship teams, Matt Price (2010) and Mike Brennan (2008), as well as legends from the turn-of-the-century teams that kicked off this string of greatness: Brian Gionta (captain, 2001) and Mike Mottau (captain, 2000).

“Those guys are in constant contact,” Cross says. “They still want to be part of the Eagle family and they are. They have a huge impact on what goes on today.

“That’s a big part of the success that Boston College has had and coach [Jerry York] has had. Everyone now just wants to continue that success and leave our own mark.”

In the process, the bar at BC keeps getting raised.

“Each class that comes in here, each team that takes the ice, has higher and higher expectations,” Cross says. “That just pushes us to be better. Gio, Motts and Clemmer — [Gionta, Mottau and Scott Clemmensen] — what they did in their four years here was incredible.

“The same thing can be said for guys like Ryan Shannon in the ’04-05 era and the same thing with Joe Whitney, Gibby [Brian Gibbons] and [John] Muse from 2008 to 2010.

“It’s our responsibility as part of the program to continue that. We’re honored and feel privileged to have that opportunity. It gets us excited to have that challenge in front of us.”