By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
According to multiple reports Thursday afternoon, Boston University men’s hockey forward Justin Courtnall has decided to sign with the Boston Bruins and forgo his senior season. The news was first reported by Scott McLaughlin of College Hockey News.
The signing comes about two months after Courtnall, who was an assistant captain for BU last season, attended a Bruins development camp. Courtnall joins his fellow assistant captain, Alex Chiasson (Dallas Stars), as well as Adam Clendening (Chicago Blackhawks) as offseason departures for BU.
If it is indeed the end for Courtnall in the scarlet and white, he will have put up 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 92 games over the course of three years with the Terriers. His last act on the ice for BU was get his third game misconduct of the year in the NCAA Regional semifinal game against the University of Minnesota.
The news came as a shock to Geoff Courtnall, Justin’s father and a 17-year NHL veteran himself. He played parts of five seasons with the Bruins during the mid-1980s.
Justin “was struggling with the decision,” Geoff Courtnall said. “That’s between him and his agent.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning selected the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Victoria, British Columbia in the seventh round (210th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. However, Geoff Courtnall told The Daily Free Press in September 2011 that his son had since become a free agent.
“We’d definitely love to see another Courtnall in the NHL someday and hopefully it’s Justin,” Geoff Courtnall said last year. “You just never know.”
Despite putting up less-than-spectacular numbers, Justin Courtnall was also hopeful of a professional hockey career heading into his junior season.
“There are a lot of cases of guys being free agents coming out of college and doing really well,” he said last September. “[2009 Hobey Baker winner and BU graduate] Matt Gilroy is an example . . . When it comes to my dad, he made it off of pure work ethic and it definitely gives me hope that I can do the same.”
With the signing, Courtnall will join a group of Chris Bourque, Colby Cohen and David Warsofsky as former Terriers who are currently in the Bruins organization.
Cohen, who says that Courtnall is “a pretty good friend” of his, told the Daily Free Press on Thursday that he had not yet heard anything besides rumors that Courtnall had signed with the Bruins.
“If there is truth to [the rumors] then I would be nothing but happy,” Cohen said. “Heis one of the best teammates that I have ever had in my life. You will neverfind a guy with more character and that works harder than he does.”
More to come.