It seems Shane Lachance was always destined to don the scarlet and white.
The freshman forward, and grandson of legendary former Boston University men’s hockey coach Jack Parker, will hit Agganis ice this season carrying a legacy that the program has been built upon.
“It’s obviously surreal. I’ve been growing up here, coming to games, coming to practices, but it’s definitely nice to see it from the student-athlete perspective,” Lachance said. “I couldn’t be happier to be here.”
Coach Parker was at the helm for 40 years from 1973-2013, setting a standard of excellence for Terrier hockey that each year’s team strives to match and surpass. Three national championships, 11 conference titles and 21 Beanpot trophies define the Parker era in terms of hardware, but it’s the gritty, relentless and prideful culture created that truly marks his time at BU.
While Coach Parker is usually at most home games since retiring, he said this season will be a bit more interesting with Lachance making his Terrier debut.
“I’m excited for him, it’s something he’s always wanted to do,” Parker said. “He’s alway been a BU fan and he’s always pushed himself to be a hockey player. He’s living his dream so to speak.”
Head coach Jay Pandolfo, who skated for Parker from 1992-1996, will be in charge of sculpting Lachance into a true BU hockey player and utilizing his specific skills to help the team win. According to Parker, Pandolfo is the perfect person for the job.
“He’s a great guy and a great coach. I think it’s nice that Shane is playing at BU but I think it’s even greater that he’s going to play for a guy like Jay Pandolfo,” Parker said.
For Pandolfo, he said he’s just going to be himself and try to boost Lachance’s development the best he can. While the team has only been practicing for around a month, the second-year head coach has been pleased with what he’s seen from Lachance ahead of opening night.
“He’s a very mature kid, he’s already got leadership skills even though he’s only a freshman,” Pandolfo said. “I think he’s going to contribute a lot this year to our lineup.”
Lachance is also following in his father’s footsteps; Scott Lachance played for BU on the 1990-91 team before having a 13-year NHL career. From a young age, the now-Terrier got a glimpse of what it meant to wear “Boston” across your chest and has strived to be in that position ever since.
“It was always BU from the start. Ever since I was a young kid I’ve always wanted to go here, so when it came time to decide it was pretty much a no brainer,” Lachance said.
The winger has been present for some of BU’s biggest moments in the past 20 years. Zoom into the 2009 National Championship photo and you’ll see Lachance, along with his two brothers, Jake and Ryan, taking in the glory following Colby Cohen’s overtime goal that secured the program’s fifth title.
“It’s an incredible story because it wasn’t like he was just in the photo in Washington, D.C., him and his two brothers were around a lot,” Cohen, who skated for BU from 2007-2010, said. “I don’t know how many games that they missed in some of those years.”
The Lachances became an extended part of the Terrier team and family, often hosting the players at their home for Thanksgiving and winter break meals when the campus dining halls were closed. Cohen and his teammates would skate with Shane, Jake and Ryan on the small backyard rink, becoming role models for the aspiring hockey players.
“It was quite exciting for them to follow the team and know the players and go down to the dressing room after the games,” Parker said. “I think a number of those players are probably flabbergasted that Shane is old enough to be playing at BU now.”
It’s a feel-good, full-circle moment for everyone involved, but it’s not where the story ends. The 20-year-old has played the role of a BU fan, of the coach’s grandson, but now it’s time he makes his own mark on the Terrier team as nobody other than Shane Lachance.
The 6-foot-5, 218 pound forward brings great size to BU’s offense paired with sharpshooting and strong netfront presence. Selected in the sixth-round of the 2021 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers, Lachance has spent the last two seasons in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms and captained the squad to its first Clark Cup in franchise history in May.
Lachance posted 54 points (33 goals, 21 assists) through 62 regular season games –– tied for fourth among all USHL players –– and added six points (three goals, three assists) during the Phantoms’ victorious playoff run.
“I think the good thing about Shane is Shane’s a good player. Shane’s not going to BU only because he’s Jack Parker’s grandson. Shane’s going to BU because he’s a top-end Division I player,” Cohen said. “He’s got a lot of high-end attributes in his game. He’s great around the net, he’s great below the circles, he’s big, he’s a leader.”
Lachance is joining a BU roster this season that is gunning for it all after falling short in the 2023 Frozen Four. While the USHL is not the NCAA, Lachance has that winning pedigree and will lean on his championship experience in Youngstown as he enters collegiate action.
“The biggest thing is once you win once, you don’t want to stop winning. It’s an awesome feeling for four, five days and then you’re like ‘okay, onto the next year.’ You just want to do it again,” Lachance said. “That and the relationships you build with your teammates is stuff that you’re never gonna forget. So trying to do that same thing here for sure.”
From sitting in the stands, rushing the ice and hanging in the locker room after games, Lachance is now opening a new chapter of his BU story –– one he intends to write himself.
“It’s gonna be cool. Honestly, might be a little bit nervous at the beginning, but it’s an awesome experience for me,” Lachance said. “I’m so lucky to be able to be here and put on this jersey. I’m just going to go out there and do my best and enjoy it and try to make my own legacy here.”