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Details of the Draft: An Update on BC Commits Prior to a Weekend in Vegas

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Photo by Stanley Cup of Chowder

When Dean Letourneau committed to BC last November, his plans to join the Eagles were not at the forefront of his mind. Instead, Letourneau was focused on his current season at St. Andrews College Prep in Canada, and breaking the school point record en route to a league championship. However, following the departure of former freshman phenom Will Smith to the San Jose Sharks, Letourneau got the call from Coach Greg Brown about a potential jump to the NCAA a year before he expected and did not think twice about taking the chance.

Along with Dean Letourneau who has rocketed up draft boards after a 127-point campaign on the u18 AAA circuit, two other BC committed skaters are set to have their names called tomorrow in Vegas at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

After their silver medal-winning tournament at the u18 Men’s World Championships away in Finland, Teddy Stiga and Will Skahan have consolidated rankings of 30 and 61 respectively which project them landing in the first two rounds of the draft.

Here is a breakdown of a few unfamiliar, yet realistic destinations for BC-committed skaters at this year’s draft:

Winnipeg Jets (Teddy Stiga)

Photo by Instagram @teddystiga_

Set to pick at 37 on the second day, a BC commit has never been selected by the Winnipeg Jets, but given the diverse Jets prospect pool, the team may look Stiga’s way as a consistent 200 ft playmaking wing that can fit into any system and make an impact.

Dean Letourneau (Utah Hockey Club)

Photo by The New York Times

After being awarded the equivalent of an expansion franchise for the 2024-25 season and beyond, the Utah Hockey Club will have a blank draft history going into tomorrow night. But, with GM Bill Armstrong’s previous history of drafting big players, selecting Dean Letourneau as a 6’6″ sniper at the center ice position is not an unrealistic thought.

Will Skahan (Seattle Kraken)

Photo by The Hockey Writers

Going into the weekend, the feeling among the Seattle Kraken organization is that they need to improve their blue line to be competitive and re-enter the playoff picture for next season. Therefore, they may look to Will Skahan at pick 63 as a stable, stay-at-home defenseman who can start the breakout. Here, Skahan would be the first BC commit to be drafted by the Kraken franchise before his tenure at Boston College.

For more information on BC Hockey news from the past couple of months tune in to our podcast below and tap the banner for more content post-draft and the introduction of a special guest!

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Hockey

Draft Day to Development Camp: Three Future Eagles’ Names are Called, Thirteen Invited for Development Camps

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Photo by The Hockey News

Following Ryan Leonard’s initial decision to return to BC in May even after the Capitals succeeded in making the playoffs, it was still unclear if he would change his mind going into the summer and toward development camp season. However, following the 2024 NHL Draft and the start of the Washington Capitals’ development camp, Leonard emphasized to the media that he was positive about his original decision.

“I want to be over-ready,” Leonard told The Hockey News during media time last Wednesday, “I met Kevin Hayes before I went to men’s worlds, and he told me right away, he goes, ‘Dude, if I was in your position, I would stay here as long as you can.'”

Despite Will Smith signing for the Sharks about a month ago, the Eagles are getting one of their primary game-breakers back for next season, among several new faces joining the team for the first time.

Here’s a breakdown of where a trio of BC’s incoming freshman landed on draft day, and a summary of what they were working on before and during their respective team development camps:

Dean Letourneau (Boston Bruins / Round 1 / Pick 25)

Photo by The Hockey Writers

After the Bruins picked Dean Letourneau in the first round looking for the second coming of Sabers’ star centerman Tage Thompson, Letourneau emphasized all during camp that he wasn’t set on developing one specific area of his game before entering BC.

“I just need to get a little stronger,” said Letourneau to The Hockey Writers on Thursday. “Playing against older and stronger guys, I can’t get pushed around out there…so putting on a little more weight going into this offseason is going to be a big help to my game.”

Teddy Stiga (Nashville Predators / Round 2 / Pick 55)

Photo by MetroWest Daily News

After Teddy Stiga became the first BC commit to ever be selected by Nashville, he elaborated how the past two years at the USNTDP have given him the chance to develop all facets of his game. During his media session following his name being called, Stiga offered reporters a summary of his development.

“I think I’ve always had a lot of skill in my game, but I think these past couple of years I’ve added a lot more tenacity and two-way [ability] to my game,” Stiga told the MetroWest Daily News. “I think my defensive side has gotten a lot better and the aggressiveness, my physicality and the physical play I bring now has been a big change too.”

Will Skahan (Utah Hockey Club / Round 2 / Pick 65)

Photo by KSL Sports

In addition to Stiga, his teammate Will Skahan also became a historic name for the Eagles, as he too was the first BC commit to be selected by the newly established Utah Hockey Club in the second round of the draft. During his media session, Skahan described his game to the reporters and listed some things he wanted to work on at this year’s development camp and Boston College.

“I bring the physical side of the game,” Skahan told KSL Sports. “Hard defense, moving the puck well…secondary offense is also something I’ll work on here, but my main thing is my physicality, defense, and puck-moving.”

For the rest of BC Hockey’s 2024-25 incoming roster, eight other Eagles were offered spots by the teams that drafted them, and two undrafted players were selected for camp such as Lukas Gustafsson by the Vegas Golden Knights and Michael Hagens by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Hockey

Summer Recruiting Period: Will Moore of the USNTDP Verbally Commits to BC

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Photo by CHL

The theme of highly skilled forwards out of the US National Development Program continues under Greg Brown following Will Moore’s decision to verbally commit to Boston College on Monday via his Instagram. As the first five-star player from the ’07 birthyear to commit to Boston College, Moore is set to arrive on campus in the fall of 2025 following one more season for the USNTDP in Plymouth, MI.

Though born in Mississauga, ONT. Canada, Moore plays for the US National Development Program as a dual citizen choosing the college route as many skilled Canadian skaters have done in recent years. Leading the u-17 team in goals last season, Moore is set to join fellow countryman Dean Letourneau down the middle in 2025 following his draft season. Moore at 6’2”, 161 lbs, has some growing to do in his final season at the USNTDP but will serve as a major offensive threat for BC once he grows into his body.

The 2024 NHL Draft is almost upon us, and we will have more news on BC recruits at the end of the month.

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Basketball

DiMauro: All in all, a solid year for BC sports

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If you are reading this, chances are your primary means of remaining connected to Boston College runs through athletics.

Oh, and we’ve been tortured souls, too, especially in recent years. We are idealists and fatalists, demanding yet forgiving, loyal and resilient, even if sometimes it feels as though we make the long trek up the cliff to Lovers Leap … only to get shoved.

All of which makes the sports year of 2023-24 a time to celebrate. Boston College did itself proud, no small occurrence given that in this unsteady (perverse?) time of expansion and realignment, schools like BC must always look their Sunday best, with no overt warts or love handles.

Women’s lacrosse, BC’s working definition of pride and joy, capped the sports season with the national championship Memorial Day weekend in Cary, NC. It was the program’s second natty in four years, a three-hour infomercial for the entire institution and more proof that, yes, it can be done at BC with the right coach.

Acacia Walker-Weinstein – you’ll note that only the letter “W” separates her from “Einstein” – not only hung a banner, but helped BC earn a distinction few other athletic programs in the country could trumpet. How many other schools made national championship games (both televised by ESPN) in two different sports fewer than two months apart?

Think about that one: Men’s hockey, during an otherwise memorable season, fell short in the national championship game. But the Sons of Greg Brown did the school proud all season. Not a bad accomplishment to see “BC in the national finals” on the ESPN scroll in mid-April (hockey) and late May (lacrosse). It’s hard to buy that kind of advertising, particularly when and if realignment and expansion happen again.

Football won a bowl game over a ranked team at Fenway Park, returns a dynamo in Thomas Castellanos and then made the splash of a cannonball, hiring Bill O’Brien as head coach. Three other women’s sports showed promise as well: field hockey (11-7, made the ACC Tournament); softball (30-24, made the ACC Tournament) and volleyball, which continues to improve steadily under coach Jason Kennedy, finished 19-13 and made the ACC Tournament.

Otherwise, baseball gets a pass as new coach Todd Interdonato assimilates to the ACC and establishes his culture; the soccer programs (3-9-5 and 3-9-6) were lousy; and I remain concerned about men’s and women’s basketball. Put it this way: Sure feels as though better players are leaving than are entering.

Off the field, “Friends Of The Heights,” BC’s Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) collective, grew massively, keeping BC competitive in a cutthroat environment. Friends Of The Heights also homered into the upper deck, hiring veteran athletic administrator Jim Paquette as its new Chief Development Officer. Paquette will advise the Board on overall development strategies, using his 16 years as an administrator at BC that specialized in fundraising.

BC’s overall cachet also made a splash on social media when Forbes Magazine named it one of the country’s “New Ivies.”

Based on its researchForbes, the century-old national business magazine, reported that American companies are souring on hiring Ivy League graduates, instead preferring high achievers from 20 other prominent universities – “Private and Public New Ivies.”

BC joins private school “New Ivies” Carnegie Mellon, Emory, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Rice, Notre Dame, Southern California and Vanderbilt. Ah, to be judged by the company one keeps.

One school year hasn’t produced this much for BC in years. And it’s significant. The idea now is to build, not regress.

Full disclosure: There are many things I still don’t like. I’m told Father Leahy neither attended the Frozen Four nor the lacrosse Final Four. It is disrespectful to the players, coaches and alumni to have a leader who acts as if so much about what makes BC great is beneath him. And we still seem to have these spasms of tone deafness, such as patrolling the parking lots like stormtroopers the day of the spring football game.

But 2023-24 was an encouraging year for BC in many ways. Yes, we always want more. But we were getting less for a long time. Not this year. A tip of the cap to athletic director Blake James, his staff, the coaches and the kids.

We pause now to enjoy summer and await Labor Day night in Tallahassee. Here’s to 2024-25, hollering “Mr. Brightside” again with the kids from the crowded bleachers.

Mike DiMauro, a columnist in Connecticut, is a contributor to Eagles Daily and a member of BC’s Class of 1990. He may be reached at m.dimauro@theday.com or @BCgenius 

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