I was sitting there at practice yesterday and they were doing this simple warm up drill. Player after player kept coming down on Demko and, like a lot of BC's opponents thus far, they weren't putting anything in the net. A few minutes went by and I honestly don't think anyone had scored on him until Jeremy Bracco came in and roofed one top shelf. In the far corner, one of the coaches banged his stick against the glass celebrating the goal. A bunch of his teammates gave him high fives. All was well.
And then it wasn't.
I've been brought up in a family where we think getting a chance to attend Boston College, whether as a student or student-athlete, is the biggest privilege anyone could ever be afforded. The opportunity to play for the winningest coach in the history of the sport, attend one of the best schools in the country, and develop a social life in one of the nation's finest cities is not something many people would pass up, let alone take advantage of. I do not want to sit here and rip Jeremy Bracco apart. He is a kid that is younger than I am. He has a bright future ahead of him, whether it is in hockey or elsewhere.
That being said, Jerry York is a good man. So is Greg Brown. So is Mike Ayers. They went out of their way for two years and did everything they could to promote Boston College to this kid and his family. When August rolled around and he finally gave them the firm "okay", they could not have been more elated. Then they found out they were lied to. Two full years of recruiting one player, banking on the hope he would keep his commitment and not waste another valuable scholarship, came to a crashing end this morning. No matter what you think of BC, no one deserves to be treated like the staff was in this situation.
As for the team, I can't imagine how upset they are.Those guys are grinding through the schoolwork and the hockey night in and night out and then one of their teammates quits on them? They know how much it would mean to the students and alumni if they were able to bring home a 6th National Title. They are doing everything they possibly can to get this team to Tampa Bay and to have one of their teammates put himself above the rest is dumbfounding.
In terms of how it affects the team, obviously, it hurts the offense but unlike the Milano departure, it isn't a killer. They will need either Brown or Gaudreau to step up and play on the third line but they won't have to be the go to guy on that unit. If I had to go to battle vs any other team in the country and you allowed me one player, I want Thatcher Demko. As long as we have him in net, we're going to have a chance to win a National Title. There is no better motivator on the planet than Coach York, you know he will get them fired up to play Friday night and beyond. They will be just fine.
Notes about situation-
- Bracco never warned the staff of this situation. He practiced yesterday (looked good) and mentioned to a few people about how his family was coming up for Denver game.
- He called Coach York this morning to inform him of the decision. They did not meet in person.
- Captain Teddy Doherty called a team meeting before practice. Give him a lot of credit, he's apparently done a great job of getting the troops rallied for Friday's big game.