But for Colton Hargrove, arriving to Western Michigan for his freshman year didn’t only come a month early, it came as part of a pact.
Hargrove, selected by the Bruins in the 2012 Entry Draft (7th Round, 205th overall), is getting ready to play his first NCAA season as a Bronco under head coach Andy Murray. But even as a first-year player Hargrove comes in with a few extra years of experience, and the benefits of having been in Kalamazoo all summer.
"The team, they’ve made a pact to say that we’re going to stay up here all summer, work out, and prepare to win another [CCHA] championship, and hopefully win a National Championship," Hargrove told BostonBruins.com. "The guys made it a lot easier with the transition."
Last season, Western Michigan captured a Central Collegiate Hockey Association Championship and Hargrove said he was not only joining a successful team, but a team that was ready to welcome in new faces.
"They’ve been nothing but nice, and helping me out with everything I needed. Just made it an easy transition—helped all the freshmen out," he said. "I love it up here."
Hargrove also enters his freshman year as a 20-year-old, having played the last two years with the Fargo Force of the USHL.
"It helped a lot playing that extra year of Juniors to develop," Hargrove said. "We’ve been having a little captain’s practice and scrimmages all summer, I’m just practicing with all the guys and playing in game-like situations just helped me a lot to change speeds and adjust to speed.
"It’s just helped me a lot, this whole summer, adjusting."
Playing Junior hockey, Hargrove established himself as a physical force. In two seasons in Fargo, he racked up 109 and 140 penalty minutes, respectively.
Dropping the gloves isn’t an option in collegiate hockey, but Hargrove sees no reason he can’t bring a similar physicality to the ice for Western Michigan.
"I’m just going to work hard every time I get on the ice, never take a shift off, play as hard as I can, try to make my teammates around me better, and we’ll just see what happens," Hargrove said. "I’ll play physical, I don’t try to play out of my role."
"I know what my role is [with the Broncos], so I’m not going to try to do anything that I wouldn’t normally do.
"So I’ll just play my game," he said.
It’s a style of play that Hargrove said was very easy to decide bring to the Lawson Arena.
"The coaches and the team was the majority of the decision," Hargrove said. "They had a great season last year and Andy [Murray] helped a lot with that.
"He’s a great coach he’s been around hockey for a long time."