On Wednesday morning, Mike McMahon of College Hockey News first reported that Boston College forward Jeremy Bracco is leaving the Men’s Hockey Program for the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers. If you’ve been on any form of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Yik-Yak, etc.) in the past 24 hours, you will have undoubtedly heard something about this situation.
One of nine freshmen and one of fifteen forwards on the team this year, Bracco played five games for the Eagles alongside sophomores Alex Tuch and Zach Sanford. In his short stint with the Eagles, he recorded a total of three assists, posted at Colorado College just last week.
In the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Bracco was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round, 61st overall. However, since Bracco was one of the Rangers’ fifth round picks in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection Draft, they still held his rights. Over the summer, there was talk that Bracco was going to leave BC for the OHL, but once he enrolled in the fall, it seemed like a decision had been made. Instead, now that BC Athletics has confirmed the move, the opposite has been set in stone.
Since Wednesday, there has been an explosion of outrage across social media concerning Bracco’s move, and as of yesterday, he was removed from the online roster. What has seemingly angered the BC community most is the perception of Bracco’s disloyalty, as if he has turned his back and deserted his team. And this is not the first time that Bracco has switched his commitments. Last year, the forward originally committed to Harvard, but later announced that he had recommitted to BC.
As for the rest of the team, the other eight freshmen are exceptionally strong. The group includes top-ranked Colin White (last week’s Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week), a 6-foot-0 forward who netted the gold medal-winning goal over Finland in overtime at the U18 World Championships and was selected 21st overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2015 Draft; Miles Wood, a 6-foot-1 forward who is leading the team in points alongside Zach Sanford and was selected 100th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2013 draft; and Casey Fitzgerald, a new defensive standout who has already logged 5 points. And with Thatcher Demko in the net, they’ve had three straight shutouts, allowing just three goals in five games.
Although Bracco is a big loss because of his skill on the puck, he was small and clearly didn’t put the team first. In fact, in the social media aftermath, Demko retweeted BC Hockey Blog’s tweet about Bracco’s departure, which said, “In school today but the bottom line is BC is better off without Bracco. He quit on his teammates and coaches.”
So, in some ways it is good that he left, because a team that is more than capable of winning a national championship doesn’t need someone who isn’t going to focus on the fact that - as legendary hockey coach Herb Brooks would say - “the name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back.”