Off-Ice News

Jack Hughes finds a ‘fresh start’ in his transfer from Northeastern to BU

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

Jack Hughes didn’t pull punches when talking about the Boston University men’s hockey teams of years past.

“I had probably hated almost every guy on this team the last two years,” Hughes, who played for Northeastern the last two seasons, said. 

There’s always been a natural rivalry between Northeastern and Boston University: they’re both Beanpot schools, both located in Boston and they both compete for many of the same prospects. 

In recent years, though, it’s reached its apex. Fueled by four meetings between the two in the past ten Beanpot finals and, in more recent years, matchups where BU met the immovable object that was former Husky goalie Devon Levi. 

“Anytime we played BU it was like, ‘this is a must win.’ I think those were probably our best games over the past two years,” Hughes said. 

Now, just a year after his Huskies beat the Terriers in the opening round of the Beanpot, Hughes finds himself on the opposite side of the rivalry. 

“Maybe I said something to a guy on the ice … but no one’s holding that against me, and vice versa. That’s just kind of how it goes,” Hughes said. 

Hughes’ departure from Huntington Ave. was part of an offseason marked by roster turnover. 

The aforementioned Levi joined the NHL along with Jayden Struble and former captain Aidan McDonough, while Sam Colangelo and Jack’s brother Riley Hughes left in the transfer portal to Western Michigan and Ohio State, respectively. 

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

BU has become acquainted with the highs and lows of the transfer portal in college hockey. 

The school netted a big fish in Brown’s Mathieu Caron, the goalie expected to start a majority of games for BU in net this year. Several Terriers exited through the portal as well, including Ethan Phillips, goalie Vinny Duplessis, and Jamie Armstrong  — whose transfer to Boston College is a parallel example of an intra-rival transfer this offseason. 

For Hughes, the transfer represented a new beginning.

“At the end of the year, I just kind of felt like I needed a fresh start. I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped in either season,” Hughes said.

“It was best for me to start somewhere new.” 

Hughes had two 16-point seasons in his time at Northeastern, scoring five goals in 32 games last year. 

“It was time for me to do something new and kind of look out for myself a little bit in a sense,” Hughes said. 

After a rookie season in which Hughes was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team and won Northeastern’s Rookie of the Year Award, the Los Angeles Kings selected the forward in the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft

Hughes cited playing time and an opportunity to improve as part of his reasoning to join the Terriers.

“I wanted to go somewhere where I thought I would play but I wanted to go somewhere where I’m gonna get better,” Hughes said. “I want to go somewhere to win. Obviously, we’re going to have a really good group.”

BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said the Terriers were happy to give Hughes the fresh start he was looking for. 

“I really liked [Hughes] as a player, playing against him there for two years at Northeastern. He was looking for an opportunity to change and it worked out for us to have a chance to get him to come here,” Pandolfo said. 

Despite the rough patches on the ice in his time at Northeastern, Hughes still has fond memories from his time as a Husky. 

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

“I had a great time, even though, at times, the hockey wasn’t going the way I wanted it to go, where I knew it could go. But I would say almost close to 100 percent of the time I was having a lot of fun, at the rink and away from the rink,” Hughes said. 

Hughes was honest about the fact that there’s been an adjustment to playing with a new group at BU. 

“It’s been hard. Practices are hard, they’re fast,” Hughes said. 

The speed of the Terriers isn’t new to Hughes, who said that Northeastern’s scouting report fixated on the quickness of BU’s skaters, and on preparing for BU’s skilled defensemen on the backend. 

“We wanted to try to take that away from them, their strengths, being good off the rush and playing fast,” Hughes said. “There was Domenick Fensore and [Lane] Hutson, and you got to take different angles on those guys versus some other guys to not get beat up the ice.”

Hughes said he has BU’s Jan. 9 matchup against the Huskies circled on the calendar, for obvious reasons. Still, he hopes there isn’t any bad blood when he takes on his former teammates.

“I’m still friends with a lot of those guys, a lot of them I’m really close with,” Hughes said. “I don’t think they hate me for it.”


  1. As a Northeastern grad and former college hockey writer, I can say this:

    Careful what you wish for. This guy is a cancer in the locker room, he’s undisciplined, he’s dirty, and he will not make an extra pass or pass up a ridiculous shot. He’s a hotdog and a hothead. He’s not worthy of NU or BU. He should play for Providence – they love cheapshot assholes.

    Sure, he has great skill (although I think his name and his daddy garnered him too much pre-draft attention. Example: His garbage brother being drafted at all). He’s a me-first guy who can’t and won’t score a greasy goal. He won’t defend. He has a weak mind and a weak body. The wind could blow him off the puck, and he would then pick a fight with it.

    He’s a fake-tough, heartless, shitty version of Tyler Madden.

    Remember these words.

  2. Was never a fan when he played at NU Then toss in he was a -14 with the best goalie in the country. Time to spend time developing someone else