TAMPA, Fla. — The Boston College Eagles may be appearing in yet another national championship game (the program’s fifth in seven years), but the players and coaches remain a long, long way from becoming jaded.
“We went through this morning’s breakfast with the players, and the enthusiasm and excitement of our players is unmatched,” BC coach Jerry York said. “It’s not your typical Friday in November, when you’re looking forward to playing a hockey game that night.
“The experience we’re going through right now is something we’ve dreamed about as coaches, certainly, but as players growing up here, a chance to win a national championship, a chance to really leave a permanent marker on their careers.
“It’s really hard to describe. Our players sense the moment, and they really feel honored to be here.”
Captain Tommy Cross was part of the 2010 title team and commented from the news conference podium on the emotions associated with duplicating that accomplishment.
“Our group is really excited to be here, to still have our sticks, to still be practicing, to still be a team in the room and still have our season going,” he said. “We may not show nerves up here speaking in front of people but behind closed doors our energy’s been phenomenal.”
Cross credits a lot of that energy to the eight freshmen and sophomores in the lineup who weren’t part of the 2010 championship.
“The youthful energy that they bring spreads throughout the room, especially to the older guys,” he said. “That’s really been key for us.”
Another motivator, if one was really needed, came from watching the Union and Minnesota teams leaving the arena, bags in hand, their seasons over.
“Seeing the other teams pack up and leave really sets in how special it is to still be one of two teams left,” Parker Milner said. “Coming to the rink every day with this group of guys — it’s so easy. It’s so much fun to be around them.”
One might guess that celebrating a win on Saturday night with that group will be just a wee bit of fun, too.