Geoff Courtnall: Justin ‘was really torn’ about decision to leave BU

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
Geoff Courtnall, the father of forward Justin Courtnall, has confirmed the 23-year-old’s entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins. Justin, an assistant captain for the Boston University men’s hockey team last season, will forgo his senior season.

“I’m excited for Justin,” Geoff said. “Justin was really torn … It took him a long time to make the decision.”

Justin, a seventh-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, became a free agent after his draft rights expired in 2011 because the Lightning failed to make a qualifying offer.

So now, three years later, Justin is following in the footsteps of his father, who signed with the Bruins as a free agent in 1983. He went on to play parts of five seasons in Boston from 1983 to 1988 en route to a 17-year NHL career.

“It was a launch to my career and played with a lot of great players,” Geoff said. “I love Boston; it was a great place to play.”

When it came to his son, though, Geoff insisted on staying out of the decision-making process. He said he wouldn’t want Justin to regret passing up what could have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The Bruins made Justin an offer after he impressed at a team development camp in late June, Geoff said. The decision comes so late in the summer because Justin had a hard time making up his mind.

“Everyone that grows up playing hockey has a dream to get a chance to play in the NHL, and I think that Justin probably felt this was such a great opportunity,” Geoff said. “He thought about it for a long time because he was torn and he really loved his time at Boston University, but he knows that this was too good of an opportunity to turn down.”