The new Mount St. Charles Hockey Academy’s four teams put up a combined record of 14-7-3 in last weekend’s Labor Day Cup tournament.
Very impressive numbers considering that the program has been in existence for only 12 months.
“We had expectations coming in of what we wanted to do, but starting out brand new at the school, we weren’t certain where we’d be,’’ said Devin Rask, the coach of the U16 team and the co-director of hockey operations along with Matt Plante.
“We’re very happy with the way we opened up. Being able to compete with some of the top programs right out of the gate, with four days of practice, is pretty exciting for us.’’
Plante, who coaches the U18 team, wasn’t surprised by Mount’s strong start.
“All four teams (U14, U15, U16 and U18) played some of the best teams in the country and were right there with those teams,’’ he said.
“The 15s and the 16s certainly proved that they are going to be right up there with the top teams in the country. I was disappointed with the 18s. I thought we should have advanced to the playoff round. We ended up finishing the weekend 3-1-1. Obviously a good weekend, but our goal was to get to the playoffs and give ourselves a chance to win it.
“We wanted a better result with our teams – what competitive coach doesn’t, right? – but if you look at the big picture and put it in perspective, it was a good start. We’re where we thought we could be,” said Plante.
Classes started this week and players will be able to settle into their routine of school work and practices.
“As coaches, you get so consumed by your day-to-day grind and trying to build your teams, we overlook that these are all brand-new kids at a brand-new school, brand-new coaching staff to them. There’s an adjustment not only on the hockey side, but socially, academically. These kids have got a lot going on right now in all facets. It’s a big adjustment,’’ said Plante.
College coaches turned out in force last weekend to check out the Mount teams. Before the tournament started, recruiters from Boston University and Maine came to Adelard Arena last week to watch practice. On Friday night, nine of 11 Hockey East teams watched the U16 and U18 games, including five head coaches. Coaches from the ECAC, Atlantic Hockey and the Big Ten checked in over the course of the weekend.
All eyes were on uncommitted winger Zachary Bolduc of the deep, talented U16 team. He didn’t disappoint, compiling a 5-5-10 line in 7 games. Bolduc scored a big-time goal on Monday in overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Elite Penguins.
“He’s one of the difference makers,” said Rask.
Between them, the U15, U16 and U18 teams have nine Division I commitments so far, with more on the way.
“It’s all about getting these kids opportunities beyond high school,” said Plante.