All season long, the mantra has been the same. With laser-like focus, the attention never shifts from their ultimate, clearly stated goal. During Friday’s press conference before the national title game, head coach Jerry York made no fewer than five references to it.
“We want to win trophies.”
That simple, five-word statement tells you all that you need to know, not only about this year’s Boston College team, but about the culture surrounding the entire program itself.
“We’re looking at that shiny trophy.”
With Saturday night’s hard-fought 4-1 victory over Ferris State, the Eagles have accomplished their ultimate goal for the season, the coveted national championship, Boston College’s second in the last three years and third since 2008. This year’s juniors and seniors join the classes of 2010 and 2011 as the only Boston College teams to win a pair of national championships during their careers.
“We stress it so much, winning trophies is so important to this program,” said senior forward Barry Almeida. “Graduating players and winning trophies, that’s Coach York’s mantra. Something about this team, when trophies are on the line, everyone buys in.”
This year’s edition of the Eagles completed the program’s ultimate quest, winning all four of the program’s targets: the Beanpot, the Hockey East regular-season and tournament trophies, and the biggest of them all, the national championship.
“Winning championships is hard. It’s the hardest thing to do, especially this one,” Almeida said. “You’re playing teams that you’ve got to take their sticks away, end their season. These guys know how to do it. They’ll carry this legacy on and be successful for years to come.”
“We sometimes take it for granted getting here,” senior forward Paul Carey said. “This season started out with the right mindset, and we were jealous of a couple of our old teammates who had two [national championships]. We’re on their level now.”
“Four trophies is an incredible season,” Carey added. “We have the microscope, that next game, but at the same time, we never lose sight of that telescope, and know that we’re playing for the Beanpot, or Hockey East. Once a trophy is on the line, a whole other team comes out of us.”
This year’s group of seniors bows out with an impressive resume, including three straight Hockey East tournament championships and a pair of national titles. But as freshmen, they suffered the worst of fates that a Boston College team can: coming up empty.
“We had a tough freshman year, only winning 18 games after the guys before us won the title in 2008,” Shea said. “That season was pretty much a failure for us, we didn’t win anything.”
When pressed about how winning 18 games, a figure that many programs would call an unequivocal success, Shea simply shrugged his shoulders and smiled. “That’s just the culture of the program here, we try to win championships. Coach always says we chase trophies. If we don’t do that, the season’s not considered a success.”
As this year’s group of seniors departs, they leave in their wake an indelible legacy, and a feeling of satisfaction in showing the younger players on this team what the expectations are for the Boston College program.
“These guys know what it takes to win, and how to win,” Shea said. “They’ll be fun to watch for the next few years. As long as the coaching staff keeps preaching the same stuff, the program will be in good hands for years.”